Although they are quite important oral hygiene routines, regular tooth brushing and flossing will never suffice for the best oral health. Tooth decay and dental cavities are some of the most common dental problems. Tooth decay is caused by poor dental hygiene that leads to the infestation of plaque on the teeth. A dental plaque is a slimy bacteria-filled film that covers the surface of the teeth. It forms as a result of bacteria in the mouth coming in contact with sugary/starchy food remnants and saliva. Good oral hygiene will get most but not all plaques. When plaques stay longer than necessary, they harden to form tartar. This signifies the beginning of a downward spiral that eventually ends in tooth decay. This is where the use of dental sealants comes in.
Dental sealants are a protective coating applied to the back of the teeth to prevent direct contact with sugar and other substances that increase the risk of decay. Initially, they are applied as a liquid over the back molars where the risk of tooth decay is highest. This step in the dental sealants procedure allows the plastic to fit into the nooks and crannies of the teeth. The plastic will eventually harden to form a barrier that protects the teeth from direct contact with harmful bacteria.
A dental sealant is most appropriate for children aged 6-14. The affinity for sugar and poor oral hygiene in the age group makes this so. Children younger than age 6 may be too young to follow instructions during a dental sealant procedure. It involves opening their mouth wide and staying still for some time. Hence, only those with an established higher risk for dental caries have to undergo this painless procedure.
Now, this is not to say an adult cannot get a dental sealant. Our dentist in Ellicott city will fix a sealant for you if you want one. Aging comes with changes in saliva composition due to medication use over time. This predisposes many adults to teeth decay. However, dental restoration removes the possibility of getting a sealant on the tooth.
the surface of the teeth to be worked on is cleaned thoroughly with paste and a rotating brush. After the cleaning, the surfaces of the teeth are rinsed with water and dried. An acidic solution is then placed on the fissures to be worked on for a few seconds before being washed off. The acidic solution helps to make the surface rougher. The fine rough surface of the teeth would help the dental sealants to bond better. After the acidic solution is washed off, the surface of the teeth is dried again. The dental sealants are then applied to the teeth’ surface and hardened by a special light. Sometimes, a two-component dental sealant is used and it sets and hardens without light. After the dental sealant hardens, it forms a hard plastic varnish coating. When this happens, your teeth are ready to return to their normal functions.
If used properly, dental sealants can last many years. However, after many years of use, they might wear out. After wearing out, dental sealants can be recoated.
Yes, there are. You can be sure of one thing, the benefits considerably outweigh the risk. Sealants can fall out, chip, or wear away and this will need re-application. Excess coatings will be drilled down or removed with a scaler. A child’s bite can feel abnormal after application due to the coatings on the tooth. This will go away with time.
There is another concern about synthetic estrogens such as bisphenol A (BPA) in sealant material. However, research has shown that salivary BPA levels from exposure to BPA peak three hours after a procedure. After this, it begins its decline and drops back to baseline within 24 hours. It is also a fact that dental materials used to manage tooth decay contain more chemicals than BPA.
For the best protection against tooth decay, consider getting dental sealants today!