Protect Your Teeth With Dental Sealants

The dental sealants procedure is one of the most widely recommended preventative treatments for kids. Adults can also benefit from sealants.

What Are Dental Sealants?

Also referred to as pit-and-fissure sealants, these are plastic resin barriers that seal out tooth decay. Sealants are “painted” onto teeth while they’re in liquid form. The liquid resin flows into the grooves and pits on the surface of molars. This fills them in and results in a more even surface that’s easier for toothbrush bristles to access.

Sealants are not the same thing as dental fillings. Fillings replace parts of a tooth that have been drilled away to get rid of decay and rotted material. A sealant doesn’t replace any part of the tooth. Rather, it’s an extra layer that protects the enamel on the top of the tooth.

What Dental Sealants Do

What do sealants do? As the name suggests, a sealant seals out food debris and bacteria that can wear down enamel and start decay. These harmful things easily get trapped in the deep grooves on molars and are hard to clean out. Sealants prevent that from happening and make it easier to keep teeth clean.

Sealants play a major role in preventing cavities from starting on chewing surfaces. That’s why they are most often recommended for kids with new teeth that don’t yet show signs of decay. Sealants can help children avoid the need for fillings.

The Dental Sealant Process

To place a sealant, the dental professional first has to clear the tooth of debris and polish it with a coarse grit to remove the sticky plaque film. The tooth is then checked to ensure there are no active cavities. Sealing over a cavity would be bad since it would only trap the infection under the sealant and let it continue to grow.
After the tooth is cleared for sealing, the dental professional etches the tooth surface with a conditioner to help the sealant material get a better grip on the enamel. The tooth is then rinsed and dried and the sealant material is painted onto the tooth. The excess material gets wiped off and the remainder is cured with a special blue light. Lastly, the treatment provider checks the fit of the sealant by having the patient bite their teeth together.
The entire process only takes around two minutes per tooth. Getting sealants is faster and more cost-effective than getting a filling and requires no drilling or anesthesia.

Are Dental Sealants Safe?

Dental sealants are very safe. They do contain bisphenol-A (BPA), but the amount is so small that it can’t cause any harm.

According to a study cited by the American Dental Association, a single dental sealant contains .09 nanograms of BPA while a small child’s daily limit for BPA exposure is 1 million nanograms. BPA exposure from dental sealants is minimal compared to daily exposure from things like cosmetics, shampoo, and even some foods and drinks.

The dental sealant process itself is very safe. There are no drills or sharp tools involved and it’s all over very quickly.

The Benefits of Dental Sealants

Dental sealants can significantly lower the chances of developing decay on those chewing surfaces by preventing bacterial buildup in the grooves on molars.

A lower cavity risk means lower dental costs, fewer toothaches, and fewer trips to the dental office in the future. There will be a decreased need for crowns, fillings, and root canals. Thanks to preventative treatments like dental sealants, some of today’s kids will never know what it feels like to get a crown or root canal!

Who Should Get Dental Sealants?

Kids stand to gain a lot from getting their adult molars sealed. But that doesn’t mean adults don’t need sealants.
You can technically get dental sealants at any age. A tooth generally has to meet only three requirements to qualify for a sealant:

Be a permanent molar or premolar

Have deep grooves on the chewing surface

Have no existing spots of decay

Getting dental sealants is a great way to lower your cavity risk.
Can you also seal baby teeth? It’s technically possible, but usually not necessary. Baby teeth can be kept healthy with adequate brushing and flossing. Sealants are ideal long-term protection for the permanent adult teeth. Most parents agree with the recommendation to seal their child’s adult molars as soon as they erupt out of the gums.

Dental Sealants in The Woodlands

Wondering whether sealants are right for you and your family? Schedule a consultation at Asiri Family Dentistry to find out. We’re huge advocates for all preventative dental treatments and we want to help you keep your family’s smiles healthy.

Our family-oriented practice welcomes kids of all ages. Don’t be shy, call us today to plan a visit and learn more about dental sealants!