When properly applied, dental sealants drastically reduce your risk of tooth decay.
Dental sealants are clear plastic coatings that are painted onto teeth to protect them from decay-causing bacteria. Modern dental sealants typically have a base of resin, glass ionomer, or a hybrid of the two materials. Some newer sealants also contain fluoride, which works to protect teeth from damage. Sealants are an inexpensive and effective way to protect the most vulnerable areas of your teeth.
Although many assume that sealants are just for children, most people could benefit from having sealants applied. Some orthodontists recommend getting dental sealants prior to receiving braces, since the teeth can be harder to keep clean during the straightening process. Adults who are prone to dental decay or who have teeth with deep natural grooves and pitting might benefit from sealants, since the sealant material can even out the surface and fill in crevices. Elderly patients with memory or mobility issues can also benefit from sealants, since they make the teeth easier to clean and less susceptible to damage.
Before dental sealant can be applied, the teeth have to be checked for existing damage such as dental cavities, as well as being cleaned and flossed thoroughly to improve the adherence of the sealant and to avoid trapping bacteria and food grime. The day you receive sealants, your appointment will start with a professional dental cleaning. Next, the teeth that will be receiving the sealants will be dried thoroughly, and then treated with a solution called Etch. This roughens the surface of the teeth on a microscopic level so that the sealant sticks to the teeth. Next, your teeth will be rinsed and dried. After your teeth are dry, the dental sealant material will be painted directly onto the teeth and then cured with a special UV light. As soon as the material is hard and dry, your sealants are in place and ready to do their job.
Dental sealants don’t require special care, but they do benefit from the same care you should be showing the rest of your teeth, including gentle, thorough cleaning. As soon as your dental sealants have cured, you can eat and drink like normal. However, if you received dental sealants the same day you had cavities filled or other damage corrected, you should wait until the local anesthetic wears off before enjoying a meal.
Studies have shown that dental sealants are 100% effective at preventing dental decay on the surfaces where they are applied, as long as the dental sealant remains undamaged. Dental sealants can last as long as ten years when cared for properly. To protect your recently sealed teeth, avoid chewing sticky or exceptionally hard foods, such as hard candies, caramels, or popcorn kernels. If you notice any change in the way that the surface of your sealed teeth feel, report the problem to Ballwin Dentist Dr. Kevin F. Postol, DDS right away. Dental sealants are easy to repair or replace.
If you think that dental sealants sound like something that could help you or someone in your family, contact us today. Dr. Postol can carefully evaluate your smile and talk with you about your dental routine to determine if dental sealants are right for you. Our office is currently accepting new patients, and we would love to meet you!