A dental sealant is a thin coating of plastic that is designed to bond to the grooves in the teeth. Once applied, this coating seals the tooth, preventing cavity formation by keeping bacteria from reaching the tooth. Since sealants make teeth less susceptible to plaque buildup, these products effectively assist in the fight against tooth decay.
Who Usually Receives Dental Sealants?
Since tooth decay is more prevalent during childhood, children usually receive dental sealants. Sealants are usually applied to the permanent teeth; however, they will work for baby teeth as well. After application, these sealants usually last from three to five years. Nonetheless, there are some adults that still benefit from the sealants they received as children.
Types of Dental Sealants
There are resin and glass ionomer sealants available. Sealants protect the teeth by blocking out food particles and plaque however, they also release fluoride to make the teeth stronger, which is especially beneficial for children.
Dental Sealant Application
- Prior to application, the dentist thoroughly cleans the teeth receiving sealant.
- The teeth are carefully examined.
- The teeth are dried and then enclosed with absorbent material. This ensures that they remain dry throughout the application process.
- The teeth are cleaned again and etchant is applied to the surface. This product roughens up the surface to help bond the sealant and the tooth.
- The dentist rinses off the etchant and dries the teeth again.
- Depending on the type of sealant being used, a thin coating of bonding material may be added to the tooth.
- The sealant is applied to the bottom of each tooth receiving treatment. The dentist makes sure to apply the sealant in all the grooves and indentions of the teeth.
- A light may or may not be used to cure the sealant. When a light is not used, patients just wait a few minutes for the sealant to dry.
Both Children and Adults Can Benefit from Dental Sealants
Sealants offer an extra cushion of protection that brushing and flossing alone cannot provide. Children who are prone to developing cavities and adults who frequently experienced decay during childhood may want to consider asking their dentist about having their teeth sealed.
If you live in or around Long Beach, California, and you would like to find out more about dental sealants, please contact Dr. Andy Tang’s office today at (562) 498-2354 to schedule an appointment. The address for Dr. Tang’s office is 5100 East Anaheim Road in Long Beach, California.