Dental sealants are an important preventive measure we use in general dentistry to ensure the health of your smile. Our dental experts recommend dental sealants for patients who are at an increased risk for cavities.
What are dental sealants?
Sealants are a preventive treatment that we recommend to help protect teeth from the effects of decay. Sealants are a clear material that we “paint” onto the surface of the teeth, providing a layer of protection to help block out food debris and bacteria from setting in the deep grooves found on the chewing surfaces of teeth. With normal brushing practices, you can keep your teeth clean and healthy.
Who may benefit from sealants?
Dental sealants are often recommended in children because they are often the most at-risk for decay. We typically recommend sealants as soon as the permanent molars come in. The back teeth are the most difficult to reach and clean properly, so adding a sealant to the chewing surfaces of these teeth adds extra protection against decay.
Dental sealants may also be recommended for adult patients who have a history of decay or who are more prone to decay.
Where are sealants placed?
We tend to focus on the chewing surface of the molars for a few reasons. First, because these teeth are in the back of the mouth, they are the most difficult to reach when brushing. But these teeth also tend to have grooves and uneven surfaces that can trap bacteria and food debris. If we apply a sealant, we can ensure harmful particles and bacteria can’t take root in these grooves. Both baby teeth and permanent teeth can have sealants applied. While baby teeth will fall out eventually, we always want our patients to avoid decay and cavities, so if we believe your child may be at risk for decay we may recommend sealants be used on their baby teeth. We may also recommend sealants for other teeth if we notice pits or grooves that sealants may be able to help cover.
How are sealants placed?
Receiving a dental sealant is an easy procedure. First, we start by thoroughly cleaning the teeth to ensure we’ve removed any debris and plaque. Once your tooth is clean we dry it thoroughly. Next, we roughen the surface slightly to allow for the sealant to adhere properly. We then carefully paint the sealant onto the chewing surface of the tooth. We take great care to ensure every tiny pit, groove and crevice of your teeth are filled. Then, we leave the sealant to cure – don’t worry, it’s fairly quick!
What happens after I’ve had a sealant?
While dental sealants do a great job of helping to fend off decay, they can’t do their job if you don’t do yours. That means you have to still take proper care of your smile. Brush your teeth with a fluoride toothpaste at least twice a day and floss once a day. In order for your sealant to keep working, proper oral care is a must.
How do I know if I need a sealant?
Ask your dental professional at Westgrove Dental if sealants are a good option for you. Our general dentistry experts will let you know if you or a member of your family could benefit from the added protection dental sealants can provide. If recommended, they can be applied at your regular dental cleaning.