Even with regular cleaning, flossing, and brushing of teeth, one cannot get teeth 100% clean without a little professional help.
The back teeth are especially difficult to clean, given the difficulty in reaching them and cleaning them thoroughly, and the fact that they often have crevices and depressions where food particles will settle. This is the reason why tooth decay almost always affects these teeth.
To prevent this from happening, dental sealants offer a proactive solution. They are a simple coating that covers the crevices and depressions, mostly on the back teeth, and seals them off, keeping them clean and preventing the settling of food particles.
Dental sealants seem simple enough, but you need a professional like one of our doctors to apply them. You can schedule a dental sealant application with us at Singing River Dentistry in Madison, AL.
What are Dental Sealants?
Dental sealants are a thin, plastic coating that is typically painted on the back teeth, mostly the molars and premolars.
They cover the chewing surfaces of the teeth and are mostly meant to prevent tooth decay.
The dental sealant will normally settle and bond into the depressions and grooves of the teeth and form a protective shield over the tooth.
The dental sealants are meant to block out the grooves of the back teeth.
They essentially seal out the food particles that would likely have stuck there and been difficult to remove using the typical dental hygiene processes of flossing and brushing.
What Are Dental Sealants Made of?
Technically, dental sealants are made of plastic. However, the truth is somewhat more complicated than that, and for good reason.
The average dental sealant is made of a combination of plastic and another compound. Based on the materials used to make them, there are several different types of dental sealants:
| Polyacid-modified resin dental sealants, also commonly referred to as compomers, have a blend of resin and glass ionomers.
|Another type of dental sealant would be the composite resin dental sealant, which is a mixture of ceramic and a plastic compound. These are the dental sealants that have the highest retention rate, with patients possibly having them on for long periods of time.
|Glass ionomer dental sealants are characterized by the long-term release of fluoride. The release of fluoride strengthens the enamel for many years and lowers the risk of tooth decay by up to 35%.
Procedure for Dental Sealants
The dental sealant procedure is a relatively simple one and takes only a matter of minutes for each tooth. The application is a multi-step process that begins with cleaning. This is typically the first step in most dental procedures.
When applying the dental sealants, the teeth that are to be sealed are cleaned thoroughly. The dentist or dental hygienist ensures that there is no food residue or particles still lingering in the grooves of the teeth.
The second stage is drying; the teeth on which the sealant should be applied are then dried out completely.
Dentists or dental hygienists typically use cotton or any other absorbent materials at this stage to keep the teeth dry.
The third stage is the roughening up. At this stage, the focus is to increase the chances of the sealant material bonding with the teeth.
An acid solution is therefore put on the chewing surfaces of the teeth in order to roughen them up. The teeth will then be rinsed and dried again after this stage.
Finally, the application is done. This is where the actual sealant is applied to the chewing surface of the teeth. It is applied onto the enamel, where it bonds to the teeth directly, dries, and hardens.
Depending on the circumstances, there might be a need for the application of a special curing light to help harden the sealant.
How Long Does it Take Dental Sealants to Dry?
The sealants dry at different rates depending on the material that has been used to manufacture them. However, the general duration is 24 hours.
Most sealants take an average of a day to completely cure. It is after this point that they can then be exposed to water, moisture, and other normal use conditions.
Dental Sealants for Kids
In most cases, it is the younger kids that have dental sealants painted on their teeth, but adults do get them too.
Kids are usually still learning how to properly brush their teeth. Even with the most vigilant of parents, kids might not go the extra mile to make sure their teeth are as clean as possible. They tend to ignore the problem areas of their teeth, putting them at very high risk for tooth decay.
It is important to note, though, that adults might also have some problem areas on their teeth and could be candidates for sealants too. Some people are more prone to cavities and tooth decay, either because they are genetically prone to cavities or because they lack access to regular dental care.
Are Dental Sealants Safe?
Dental experts recommend that children get dental sealants as soon as they get their adult teeth.
Studies show that only between 20 to 40% of children at this age end up getting dental sealants.
This could be because of a lack of access to dental care, the fear that sealants might not be safe, or the lack of information about how dental sealants work and their benefits.
One important issue to mention when considering the use rates of dental sealants and their safety is that of Bisphenol A or BPA. This has been a common buzzword in the debates about the safety of dental sealants.
BPA is a resin that is used in the manufacture of many different types of plastics.
There is some evidence that BPA might be unsafe for children, although the evidence is not conclusive.
Nonetheless, the best dental sealants for children are those that are BPA-free.
Many parents wonder what can be done to better protect their children’s teeth, especially at those young ages when they cannot yet fully take care of themselves.
Dental sealants are an easy, effective way to ensure that their teeth are well taken care of. Dental sealants can last up to 10 years and are completely safe for children.
Schedule an Appointment With Your Madison, AL Dentist Today!
Singing River Dentistry strives to help you protect your teeth and gums. Dental sealants can prevent decay and tooth loss. Reach out to us at
256 - 562 - 4001 and let us discuss protecting you and your children's teeth.