Dental sealants are thin, plastic coatings applied to the chewing surfaces of teeth. They are typically recommended for children as an effective preventive dentistry option. At Ivan K. Salmons DDS, they provide a barrier against tooth decay and help prevent cavities when properly applied and maintained. Applying sealants to your children’s teeth can significantly reduce their risk of developing cavities. The chewing surfaces of the back teeth are most susceptible to decay since they are more challenging to reach with a toothbrush. This makes them easier to develop bacteria and cavities. Sealants effectively protect these vulnerable areas from the development of bacterial plaque that causes decay and cavities.
The Procedure for Dental Sealants
Your dentist will apply the sealant in a liquid form and harden it with a special light so it bonds to the tooth enamel. The gel is painted onto the chewing surface of the teeth in a thin layer, where it bonds directly to the tooth and hardens. It takes about a minute for the sealant to harden. Once it’s dry, you can eat and speak normally. After the appointment, your dental hygienist will provide you with care instructions. You should brush and floss your teeth as usual and avoid sticky or hard foods that may pull the sealants off. You’ll also want to avoid drinking soda pop or other acidic drinks, which can break down the sealants. Once applied, the dental sealants protect the tooth enamel, preventing bacteria and food particles from getting trapped in the deep grooves and fissures. This reduces the risk of tooth decay in those areas and helps to maintain the overall health of the teeth.
The Benefits of Dental Sealants
- Sealants provide a physical barrier on the chewing surfaces of the teeth, preventing plaque buildup and reducing the risk of tooth decay.
- The sealant application process is quick, painless, and non-invasive. No drilling or anesthesia is required.
- Dental sealants can last several years with proper oral hygiene and regular check-ups. They provide ongoing protection against tooth decay during this time.
- By protecting the vulnerable areas of the teeth, sealants can help avoid the need for more extensive dental treatments, such as fillings or root canals, in the future.
- Sealants are commonly used for children and teenagers, as their newly erupted permanent teeth are at a higher risk of decay. However, adults with deep grooves and susceptible teeth can also benefit from sealants.
It's important to note that dental sealants are not a substitute for regular brushing, flossing, and routine dental care. They are an additional preventive measure to enhance oral health and reduce the risk of tooth decay, particularly in the back teeth, where decay is most common. The process of applying dental sealants is simple, quick, and painless. For more information, visit Ivan K. Salmons DDS, at 1855 Indian Hills Drive, Sioux City, IA 51104, or call (712) 239-5900.