Dental education and prevention is an important part of the work we do. We believe that the best way to maintain a healthy smile is to prevent problems before they arise. At Bryan Hill, DDS, we offer the placement of dental sealants as a way to protect the vulnerable areas of teeth from decay. With education and establishing a good hygiene routine, along with the tips and tools we offer, you can have a healthy smile to last you for a lifetime.
What Are Dental Sealants?
Dental sealants are a plastic shield that we can place in the difficult to clean areas of your molars. They will serve as a barrier between the tooth and any bacteria or food debris that can settle in those hard to reach or clean areas. Typically, we place them in the grooves of the molar surface, or in areas that can even be difficult for a toothbrush to reach. Molars, and premolars come with deep grooves and fissures, designed to help us chew, but can be difficult to clean. By sealing these spots, studies have shown an 80% reduction in the development of cavities.
Cavities are made from decay causing plaque. Plaque is a material that our mouths naturally form from saliva and food debris in our mouths. Food debris often contains both sugar and bacteria. Sugars are found in more than just sweets, sugar is in carbohydrates, fruits and more. Patients often think because they work hard to omit sugar from their diet that they are not at risk, and though their risk may be significantly decreased, sugar can just be found in an abundance of our foods. The bacteria in our mouths feed on this sugar and then emit an acid that causes decay and infection. Dental sealants provide a layer of protection for the grooves of our teeth by smoothing out the occlusal surface, making it much easier to clean and sealing out harmful bacteria.
Who Qualifies For Dental Sealants?
Dental sealants can be used for any patients who could use the assistance in keeping troubled areas free of decay. As a standard, we often recommend dental sealants for all of our adolescent aged patients, starting when children begin growing their first permanent molars. Molars and premolars can be difficult to clean, and we know that our younger patients are still learning correct hygiene care. Studies have demonstrated that patients in this age range are at a greater risk for developing tooth decay, especially in the nooks and crannies of their molars. Children, pre=teens and teens are ideal candidates for dental sealants.
Additionally, sealants can be a wonderful tool for patients with varying disabilities, patients with higher levels of decay, and patients who request them for additional support.
Application Of Dental Sealants
Placing dental sealants is a painless procedure, it does not involve needles for numbing or drilling. Prior to application, we will first thoroughly clean and wash the tooth using a specialized paste and rotary brush. We want to rid the area of bacteria and not seal it in. Once the area is clean and dry, we then apply an acidic solution to roughen the area just a bit, this will help with better adhesion. With the area prepped, we can then paint the sealant on in a liquid form with simply a small brush. With the sealant in place, we can then harden it with an ultraviolet curing light transforming it into a plastic varnish coating. Dried and cured, dental sealants are highly durable with the strength to withstand daily pressures of biting and chewing.
Sealants can protect a tooth from decay, and remain in place for years, generally ten years. During future dental cleanings and dental exams, we will check the status of your sealants. We may suggest replacement if we see the sealant diminished due to standard wear and tear.
Schedule An Appointment
If you would like to learn more about the dental sealant process, contact our team at (509)468-4040, for more information.