Dental Sealants

Dental sealants are invisible thin plastic resin coatings that when painted on the chewing surfaces of the back teeth (molars) can act as a barrier to prevent cavities or tooth decay. Application of dental sealants is easy.It is painted onto the tooth enamel where it forms a chemical bond with the tooth and hardens.They have been proven to be very useful preventive treatment recommendations by the dentists. Though no substitute for brushing & flossing sealants are a fast and easy way to protect the teeth from cavity prone areas.Toothbrush bristles can’t reach every nook and cranny especially those chewing surfaces of the back teeth or Molars.Molars are rough, uneven, have small pits and grooves where food and plaque accumulate causing tooth decay.Sealants can fill these pits and fissures to keep the food and bacteria away.Sealants can also stop early stages of tooth decay to prevent further damage to your tooth. As long as the sealant remains intact, the tooth surface will be protected from caries. Sealants last for several years and can withstand the chewing forces of our teeth.

Dental sealants as the name implies simply seal out the plaque and food to prevent tooth decay and safeguard our oral health.

Untreated cavities can cause pain, infection, and problems eating, speaking, and learning.Dentists recommend applying sealants to children at highest risk of cavities.Studies show that children aged 6 to 11 years with no sealants have thrice likely to get first molar cavities than children with sealants.Statistics show that sealants also protect against 80% of cavities for up to 2 years and offer further protection against 50% of cavities for up to 4 years.Preventive,easy, inexpensive treatments like Sealants can avoid the need for difficult,costly and invasive treatments like dental fillings or crowns

The chances of developing pit and fissure caries are very high beginning early in life, so children and teenagers are good candidates.However, sealants can also benefit adults, especially if their teeth are predisposed to cavities,poor oral hygiene habits,enamel defects or have deep pits and fissures.Sealants are not recommended in those people with shallow pits and fissures.who are high risk for caries, who follow good oral hygiene routines, and teeth with restorations.

Dental cavities are one of the most common chronic conditions among children and teens. Left untreated, cavities can cause pain and infection and problems in eating, speaking, and learning. Sealants are an extremely effective protective shield for children’s teeth from getting cavities.

Appropriate age for getting sealants in children is when the permanent molars erupt completely, around six years for the first molar and twelve years for the second molar.This is the age when applied sealants are most protective against dental caries.

Dental Sealants can be clear or white and blend into the tooth surface they are placed on. Usually a sealant is invisible when a child talks or smiles.

Getting a sealant is quick and painless.The tooth is cleaned well with a paste and rotating brush.An acidic gel may be placed on the fissured tooth surface for a few seconds.This acid etch or adhesive gel creates roughness on the tooth surface so that a strong bond can form between your tooth and the sealant.Retention to the tooth surface and clean dry environment free of salivary contamination are two factors highly determinant of the pit and fissure sealant’s ability to prevent dental caries.After a few seconds the gel is then rinsed and dried thoroughly by the dentist. Finally,a liquid dental sealant is painted on the grooves of the tooth making sure it coats all the pits and fissures. The dentist may shine a special blue light on the tooth to help harden the sealant to form a protective shield.Once the sealant hardens you can chew on the tooth.

Sealants are very thin and placed on the pits and fissures of the teeth.Few children can feel the sealant with their tongues as hard plastic coating briefly after the sealant is placed.That feeling will go away in a day or two.

Yes, they can be removed for a number of reasons,for example an improperly placed or damaged sealant. Certain foods, drinks, and everyday wear can also cause cracks in the sealant. In such situations,the sealant needs to be removed and replaced soon after detection.

Sealants often last for several years about 5-10 years before they need to be reapplied.It is important for you to make regular visits to the dentist to check the condition of the sealant if they are not damaged.If found broken or chipped,it needs replacement.Your dentist will remove the old sealant and apply a new one.

Yes, fluoride treatments help protect all the tooth surfaces from decay while the. Dental sealants offer protection to only the chewing surfaces of the teeth.Fluoride treatments and dental sealants together offer strong protection for children against fighting tooth decay.

    Sealants can fail due to several reasons as listed below:

  • Improper application leading to contamination of saliva is the leading cause of failure for dental sealants.
  • Failure may be in part to lack of experience on the dentist part
  • Poor cooperation of the patient
  • Application on partially erupted teeth,
  • Improper tooth preparation without removal of the plaque and debris prior to sealant placement
  • After dental sealants placement, the occlusal surface may be subjected to usual wear and tear and may possibly chip away.Once sealant is chipped It becomes very easy for bacteria to be harbored underneath, causing decay
  • Placement of insufficient sealant material

Failure rates can be very high given that sealants are not permanent and last for only few years.When a sealant fails to act as a physical barrier, bacteria infiltrate,multiply under the surface and release acids that eat away at the enamel causing dental caries.Under a sealant, the tooth color may morph to brown or dark brown and slowly may infiltrate into the deeper tooth layers, the pulp. Pulpal damage can cause tooth pain resulting in extensive,costly treatments such as a pulpotomy.In effect a patient with a healthy tooth now ends up in caries.

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