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Dental sealants help to combat problems associated with tooth decay, which is common in adults and children.
Daily brushing and flossing of teeth are essential preventive maintenance for oral, but your toothbrush cannot reach the far end of your teeth’s chewing surfaces. Teeth cavities, such as the depressions and grooves on teeth surfaces, where food particles gather, can cause teeth decay. But how is a dental sealant applied?
Before talking about the procedure involved in the application of a dental sealant, let’s talk about what it is and how it works.
What is Dental Sealant?
The American Dental Association defines a dental sealant as a solution to tooth decay, designed to be a barrier to cavities. It is a plastic material used in covering the chewing surface of the tooth.
Generally, a dental sealant is usually attached to the molars and premolars, where most tooth decay occurs. When used to seal these places, a dental sealant prevents tooth decay in these areas.
Who Should Use Dental Sealants?
Dental sealants are commonly used for children and young adults, but they are quite useful for older adults too. Children and teenagers use sealants to prevent decay from building up in their molars and premolars, while only adults who do not have decay or fillings can use sealants in their molars.
Dental sealants benefit both children and adults. Regardless of age, sealants help prevent tooth decay by preventing food and plaque from building up in tooth grooves and depressions.
Dental Sealants for Adults
The leading cause of tooth loss in adults is tooth diseases and decay, usually caused by poor dental hygiene. But, how effective is a dental sealant for an adult? Does it help to prevent tooth loss due to old age?
Research by professional dentists stated that about 25% of adults have untreated tooth decay. The type of food we eat and how often we brush and floss are other factors that contribute to tooth decay. How you’re able to manage these cases play a significant role in your dental health.
However, limits are often imposed by genes, personalities, and logistics on the improvement of hygiene. Concerned adults can discuss with professional dentists the best option to protect their teeth from decay.
Pros and Cons of Dental Sealant in Adults
- It costs very little to undergo sealant treatment as an adult.
- It has an 80% chance of preventing decays in molars and has a very slim chance of promoting decay.
- It is not permanent as it needs to be replaced after 5 to 10 years.
- Risk of covering existing decay with the etching gel, which may result in more problems.
Dental Sealants for Children
One of the best ways to improve your children’s dental health and protect their teeth from decay is through the use of sealants. It can be used for any part of your child’s teeth, including those in sensitive areas.
The procedure is affordable, safe, and effective. A CDC report stated that about 43% of children between the ages of 6 and 11 have dental sealant.
Pros and cons of dental sealant in children
- It can stay in the mouth for up to nine years.
- According to a CDC report, it prevents 80% of cavities for two years.
- Since children tend to be less careful, there’s a need for appropriate monitoring and maintenance of the tooth during the care visits at the dentist’s, to prevent it from falling off.
Benefits of Dental Sealants in Adult and Children
What benefits do adults and children derive from dental sealants? There are lots of them! Here are a few notable benefits of sealants and how it helps.
- Dental sealants help to reduce the risk of tooth decay in adults and children.
- A dental sealant ensures that there are no breeding grounds for bacteria in the mouth.
- Dental sealants help prevent the accumulation of food debris and plaque in sensitive areas of your teeth, making it the best preventive measure to take in preventing tooth decay.
- While you may have to part with some money initially, using a sealant prevents you from spending on costly dental procedures after tooth decay.
How to prevent tooth decay and maintain dental health
- Visit your dentist regularly.
- Reduce junk food intake.
- Brush your teeth twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste approved by the ADA.
- Use dental floss after meals, before bed, or when necessary.
- Visit a dentist to find out the best way to prevent tooth decay in your children.
Dental Sealant Procedure
A dental sealant procedure is painless and doesn’t require any form of drilling or medications. There are three methods involved in the process.
- Tooth Preparation
Tooth preparation and cleaning is the first step before the dentist begins the cavity sealing process. The surface of your tooth is polished to remove food debris and plaque from the sensitive areas. After that, the dentist does the isolation and dying of the tooth before etching the tooth’s surface. Etching involves the use of an acidic substance to prepare the tooth enamel before adding adhesive. After the etching process, the dentist washes off the etched surface and dry the tooth.
- Application of Sealant
At this stage, the sealant is applied to the surface of the tooth is with a brush. Then a dental-curing light will be directed to the surface for 30 seconds to glue the sealant to the tooth’s surface.
The last stage is the evaluation stage, whereby the dentist checks the dental sealant to see if it is hardened enough. Once the sealant is hard enough, the end product is a strong plastic coating that you can use to chew any food.
When looked at critically, a dental sealant has immense benefits that far outweigh its little disadvantage that comes in the form of expenses. In the long run, you would appreciate its help in giving you a beautiful smile and elevating your self-confidence. Contact us today, our dentists are dedicated to helping you maintain your oral health.