The chewing surfaces of our back teeth are rough and contain fissures and grooves. These could become hiding places for food particles, bacteria and tartar. Normal brushing and flossing is not enough for effective cleaning of these areas. A dental sealant is a thin coating of plastic material applied to these grooves in order to smoothen the chewing surface of the teeth and protect them from decay. A dental sealant also acts as a barrier against the attack of acids produced when the food we eat breaks down in the mouth.
Sealants are mostly placed on the back teeth and the molars, but can be used on most teeth surfaces which are rough and may be prone to cavities. Generally advised for children, they are an equally effective form of preventive treatment and care for adults too. Just a thin coat of sealants can prevent bacterial and acid attacks, manifestation of tartar and debris and the need for dental fillings or restorations due to cavities and decay. To ensure their effectiveness, sealants should be reapplied every five to ten years.
The process of placing sealants on the teeth is as follows:
First, the teeth are cleaned thoroughly to get rid of plaque, tartar and bacteria. We will also check and remove any existing decay on the teeth prior to the placement of sealants. Once the teeth are clean and cavity-free, the tooth surface is etched to allow for the sealant to bond properly. The sealant material is then carefully painted on to the textured tooth surface and allowed to dry using a special curing light. The tooth is then polished to give it a natural appearance and shine.
For more information about dental sealants and their role in protecting your teeth against cavities and decay, please schedule a consultation at our practice by calling us at (816) 941-7996.