How Dental Sealants Protect Your Teeth From Oral Decay

A dental sealant is a coating that seals the grooves found in the chewing surfaces of your teeth. The sealants help to prevent debris from becoming trapped in the grooves of your teeth, which can contribute to tooth decay. As a result, they can prevent a significant number of cavities. 

When Are Dental Sealants Used By Dentists?

Sealants are used for both children and adults. However, they are not suitable for children who still have their baby teeth. They are not meant to serve as an alternative to brushing and flossing but will provide an added layer of protection. Your dentist might recommend a sealant if you are prone to tooth decay. 

How Does the Sealant Process Work?

Before you can have the sealant applied to your teeth, you must have your teeth cleaned thoroughly. Your dentist will also examine your teeth for signs of oral decay. Then, your teeth must be thoroughly dried using an absorbent material. This will allow for your teeth to be prepared for the application of the sealant. 

Next, the dentist must use an etchant to roughen the tooth surface. This is designed to make the sealant more likely to adhere to the tooth. Then, the etchant must be rinsed off and the tooth is dried once again. To attach the sealant to the tooth, your dentist must use a bonding agent. The dentist paints the sealant onto the surface of each chewing tooth. Then, a curing light hardens the dental sealant. 

This process should only be carried out at a dentist's office because the tooth must be properly isolated so there are no contaminants. Also, you may need to have your teeth treated prior to having the sealant applied to your tooth. If you have a small cavity, a sealant could technically be applied to the cavity. However, you are better off having the cavity fixed first. 

What Does the Sealant Do?

A sealant is a preventative measure before your teeth reach a point where they are suffering from decay. If the decay reaches the dentin, you have reached a point where a filling is necessary. Otherwise, the decay will progress to the point where a root canal will be necessary. 

The sealant placed on the tooth is not noticeable. The sealant will last up to10 years, and however long it lasts is partially based on the techniques used by your dentist, as well as on whether or not you grind your teeth.

To learn more, contact a dentist.