Protecting your teeth for a long-lasting smile with Dental SealantsDental sealants are a preventative dental care treatment and are used to protect the chewing surfaces of the back teeth (molars and premolars) against decay. They consist of a thin plastic coating that is painted onto these surfaces. The sealant protects the grooves and fissures in these teeth, as they can be difficult to clean and therefore vulnerable to decay.
Sealants effectively ‘seal’ these fissures, preventing plaque and food from penetrating. The sealant is just about colourless so it’s virtually invisible to anyone other than your dentist or hygienist!
Who Can Have Dental Sealants?
The most suitable candidates for dental sealants are children and teenagers whose adult teeth have newly erupted. This is because sealants can only be placed on teeth that do not have any decay or fillings. Adults with healthy back teeth may also be able to receive this treatment.
It is recommended that children have dental sealants soon after receiving their adult teeth, but occasionally we may suggest using sealants on their baby or primary teeth. This is because some baby teeth can have incredibly deep fissures that are very difficult to clean. This can increase the risk of tooth decay, and the risk of losing these teeth. Primary teeth may only last a few years before being shed, but they are still very important as they act as ‘placeholders’ for the adult teeth, helping them to erupt normally, so it is vital that they are not lost too early.
How Are Dental Sealants Applied to the Teeth?
The process for applying dental sealants is quick and straightforward and is as follows:
- Each tooth needs to be thoroughly cleaned and dried.
- A special solution is painted onto the chewing surfaces of each tooth to lightly etch or roughen the surface as this helps to increase the bond between the dental sealant and the tooth.
- The etching solution is removed, and the tooth is rinsed and dried.
- The dental sealant is painted on to the chewing surface of each tooth and is allowed to harden.
Dental sealants can last up to 10 years before they need renewing. Their condition is something that will be checked at each appointment so they can be replaced as necessary.