Dental sealants are among the most common treatments provided in a family dentistry practice. They are plastic coatings placed on top of the chewing surfaces of the teeth. Dental sealants are most often placed on the premolars and molars because those teeth have larger chewing surfaces along with deeper cracks that can trap food particles, harbor bacteria and be more likely to develop decay. The sealant helps to keep food and bacteria out of the tooth’s grooves, reducing the risk of cavities.
Pediatric patients are the most likely to receive dental sealants at a family dentistry practice, but the treatment may also be recommended for adults who seem to develop cavities frequently. This is less common, however. Sealants also are usually placed on permanent teeth that have erupted, but in certain cases they may be placed on primary teeth, as well.
A dental sealant can be placed in a short appointment. The dentist first prepares the tooth by cleaning and drying it thoroughly. An acidic solution is then placed on the tooth to create an environment that is more conducive to bonding with the dental sealant. Then, the dentist places the liquid sealant on the tooth and hardens or “cures” it using a light specially designed for that purpose. Patients can resume chewing on the tooth as soon as the sealant is fully hardened.
Dental sealants can last for years, and they can be replaced if that becomes necessary. After you get a sealant, it’s still important to maintain a robust oral hygiene routine at home and appropriate professional care in order to limit cavities on other surfaces of the teeth.
Dental sealants can help to protect the teeth, especially the large teeth at the rear of the mouth, from the effects of tooth decay. If your teeth seem particularly vulnerable to cavities or you have a child who is cavity-prone, you may want to consider this treatment option to help boost your oral health.
For more information or to schedule a visit, contact the office of Dr. John Morris at 269-979-1500.