In decades past, tooth decay, cavities and even extraction were considered a normal part of oral health. Dentistry has made incredible advancements in what they know and promote dental education in their patients. Today, we have the tips and tools that can protect your oral health and increasingly we are even seeing our young patients reach adulthood without ever experiencing a cavity. One of these tools is the application of dental sealants. Our staff at A Smiling Heart Dentistry can seal off the most vulnerable areas of your teeth and help you keep those spots healthier.
Our teeth have a great design for chewing and breaking down food. They have sharp areas and flat areas, with pits and fissures that do an excellent job. The downside is that these ridges also create spaces in which food and plaque can become trapped and lodged. They can be difficult to brush and keep clean. These are the spots that cavities are most likely to develop, especially in children and teens who are still in the learning phase of dental hygiene. Dental sealants can be used to protect these areas keeping your children’s teeth healthy, even when they aren’t the best brushers.
Dental Sealants Process
A dental sealant is a liquid plastic material that we can paint onto the spots most susceptible to decay. When hardened, the sealant adheres like a firm varnish to the enamel, providing a shield to the tooth. This layer of protection has two jobs; it serves as a barrier to protect the tooth, and it smooths some areas of the tooth making it more difficult for debris to get stuck and therefore easier to brush.
Dental sealants can be applied to any patient who demonstrates a need, but in general, we recommend sealants for all children who have developed their premolars, and teens. This is because young adults and youth are at the highest risk to developing tooth decay as they are still learning proper hygiene care. Additionally, some of our adult patients may be at higher risk due to the genetic makeup of their enamel, disabilities, poor hygiene habits, or the shape of their teeth. We find that dental sealants can be helpful for a wide range of patients.
Applying dental sealants is a painless procedure that is completed in our office often following a dental cleaning. The process involves:
|Clean the Area: We want to reduce and remove harmful bacteria from the area as best as possible. This is done through a thorough cleaning of the area. We may use a specialized paste and rotary brush.
|Apply an Acidic Solution: The acidic solution we use will roughen the enamel just enough to allow for better adhesion of the sealant material.
|Paint on the Sealants: We apply the sealant material with simply a small brush. Sealants are literally painted on.
|Harden the Sealant Material: Because sealants are applied in a liquid form, we need to harden the material before the patient closes their mouth. We use a blue light to harden the material. It will appear as a varnish on your teeth.
Your dental sealants are durable, they can protect a tooth from decay for upwards of ten years. We may ask you to schedule a follow-up appointment so we can monitor the sealant. We may suggest a replacement sealant due to standard wear and tear.
Schedule An Appointment
If you would like to learn more about the dental sealant process, call (425) 558-9998, and schedule an appointment.