12 Mar Purpose of a Dental Sealant
A dental sealant is a protective material that is applied to teeth that are unaffected by dental decay. Your dentist will prescribe sealants primarily for the back teeth in children and teens as a preventative measure against dental decay.
The process for applying the dental sealant is fairly easy. The tooth or teeth to be treated are thoroughly cleaned. A chemical is applied to the surface that will aid in the sealant adhering to the tooth. The sealant is literally painted on to the surface of the tooth. The sealant is liquid upon application to allow it to penetrate the pits and indentations on the tooth.
A curing light or laser is often used to expedite hardening of the sealant. When dried, the sealant forms a plastic barrier to keep bacteria from food and drink from penetrating the surface of the tooth that could result in dental decay.
Children and teenagers experience cavities most often on the surfaces of the back teeth, so these teeth are the ones your dentist will advise should be treated. [pullquote]A dental sealant is a protective material that is applied to teeth that are unaffected by dental decay.[/pullquote]
It is important to note that dental sealants and fluoride treatments are not the same thing. Both are important tools in the fight against tooth decay, but unlike fluoride, sealants are only applied to teeth that have not already experienced a cavity. Fluoride treatments are recommended for children, teens, and adults to aid in the prevention of tooth decay.
Over time the sealants can be worn away from chewing so re-application may be needed. As long as the teeth are still decay free, this process can be redone. Your dentist will monitor the sealants to make sure they remain intact doing their job.
Your dentist may prescribe dental sealants for your child’s molar teeth as soon as they erupt for optimum protection. This is one reason why an early dental appointment for children is so important. The advantages of sealants include:
- Cost savings of sealants versus dental fillings
- Discomfort from fillings can be avoided
- Teeth that experience decay are weakened allowing for future problems
- Sealants offer virtually invisible protection
Having sealants applied to teeth is not a replacement for a good daily hygiene regimen, and does not provide an excuse for skipping those dental appointments every six months. Just like dental floss and a tooth brush, sealants are a tool to help prevent dental decay.
For more information and to schedule your next dental visit, contact the office of Dr. Mark E. Massaro at 918-779-3399 today.