We work to fight tooth decay on a daily basis. Brushing twice a day, flossing daily and using antibacterial mouthwash are just a few of the steps we take. We also schedule regular dental cleanings and exams, avoid sugary foods, and choose just the right toothpaste. There are also dental procedures that can help prevent tooth decay. Dentists say the simplest is a procedure called dental sealants.
Dental sealants are designed to add a protective coating to your teeth to prevent tooth decay. Dental sealants, also known as fissure sealants, are primarily used on children to prevent cavities. Traditionally, the sealant is applied pretty soon after the adult teeth grow in. Though sealant can be used on most teeth, it is typically put on the back teeth. The molars are harder to reach and also have deeper grooves that are a breeding ground for decay. The dental sealant fills in the grooves, making the teeth smooth and easier to keep clean.
One of the best features of dental sealants is that the application process is painless and virtually free of discomfort. This is particularly desirable when planning any form of treatment for children. The procedure is also fairly quick, and most sealants can be applied on the same day. Your dentist will start be evaluating the teeth and decide which teeth will be sealed. Then, the teeth are cleaned and dried in preparation for applying the sealant. Once the sealant is applied, it will either be secured with a light or by allowing it to dry on its own.
You can expect your dental sealants to last at least 5 years. However, some patients keep their dental sealants into their adulthood. Sealants can occasionally become ineffective in their first year because of salivary contamination. Furthermore, once sealants pass the 5 year mark, it is possible for bacteria to become trapped under the sealant itself. Your dentist will keep a check on them during routine exams to be sure this is not the case.