By some parent's standards, children grow up being told that brushing their teeth and flossing are all they need to keep their mouth healthy. Unbeknownst to the children, the bristles of a toothbrush are too large to reach between teeth or in the grooves on top of teeth. Thus, children will be unable to reach these spots, leading to a constant struggle with infection and cavities.
Fortunately, we have an easy solution that is painless and quick with dental sealants.
Healthier teeth at a young age
Dental sealants, also known as 'fissure sealants,' are simply a protective plastic coating applied in liquid form to the back teeth, which are the most susceptible to decay. Since it can be difficult to clean the back teeth with a toothbrush, the small grooves and fissures may need dental sealants.
The sealant bonds into the tiniest grooves in the molars. Then the sealant dries and forms a hard protective shield over the enamel of each tooth. The shield keeps food out of these grooves, thus preventing the buildup of bacteria and avoids decay. It is also easy to clean the smooth surface of dental sealants.
Once a tooth develops a cavity, it is considerably more difficult and more expensive to repair the damage. Dental sealants are a safe and painless way to protect teeth from developing cavities. We use dental sealants as a minimal intervention approach to dental care.
Who should get dental sealants?
Children and teenagers are usually the right candidates for sealants because fissure decay often begins early in life. Applying a sealant to a child's teeth as soon as their permanent set comes in, protects the teeth throughout childhood. However, adults who do not have fillings or decay can benefit from sealants as well. This is especially true in the case of people who are at a higher risk for caries. This includes people who have:
- Early signs or a history of dental caries
- Deficient or too thin enamel on their teeth
- Deep pits and/or fissures on their molars
- A diet high in refined sugar or carbohydrates
- Poor oral hygiene and plaque control
People with exceptional oral hygiene, a balanced diet, or can easily clean the shallow grooves in their teeth, will most likely not receive dental sealants. In other cases, teeth with shallow pits and grooves that one can easily clean with a toothbrush or previously restored pits and fissures, will not need dental sealants.
How are dental sealants applied?
It only takes a few minutes for us to apply a sealant to each tooth, which is a painless and straightforward process. The teeth that are to be sealed are thoroughly cleaned and dried. An acid solution is then applied to the surface of each tooth to create a rough surface, which helps the sealant bond to the tooth. After rinsing and re-drying the tooth, the sealant is painted onto each tooth, and ultraviolet light used to 'cure' and harden the sealant.
How long do sealants last?
Dental sealants do wear down in time. The lifespan of dental sealants depends entirely on the sealant's material and the patient's level of care, giving the sealant a five to 10-year lifespan. A professional needs to check the dental sealants (at least on an annual basis) for any signs of chipping or wear. If any damage is present, we will add or replace some of the sealants to ensure the teeth are still being protected from decay.
With dental care, prevention is the best defense. With proper oral hygiene, regular dental checkups, and dental sealants as necessary, we can help keep your teeth clean. Schedule an appointment with us and protect your teeth for many years to come.
Our dental office provides the treatment patients need, while in a comfortable atmosphere. We ensure our patients leave with healthy teeth and the knowledge to maintain healthy teeth. Schedule an appointment today.
iSmile Dental Team PC
At iSmile Dental Team PC in Philadelphia, we work to customize your treatment to match your needs and schedule where possible. Our professional staff aims to create a calm atmosphere for you during the appointment and treatment process. We will identify any dental issues you are struggling with and work with you to find the solution that works best for you.
Our staff seeks to create a comforting environment at the office to ease patients into the procedure. We can help prevent damage to your teeth and set you on track for a lifetime of quality oral health. At iSmile Dental Team PC, your dental health is our prime concern.