Dental sealants are thin plastic coatings that protect the surface of your teeth. They are often applied to the surface of teeth at the back of your mouth, such as your molars or premolars and are used to provide protection to your teeth. If you or your child are being considered for dental sealants, it is important that your questions are answered, so that you can make an informed decision. Gentle Dental Center has the answers for some important questions that you may have about dental sealants:
How Do They Work?
Dental sealants work by adding an extra layer of protection between your teeth and whatever comes in contact with them. Your sealants are created from plastic and this plastic is put directly onto the surface of your teeth. This protects all of the crevices of your tooth’s surface that are likely to fill with food particles. Also, because the teeth in the back of your mouth are generally harder to brush, they provide an extra layer of protection when you accidentally miss something when brushing these teeth.
How Are They Put On?
The process of getting dental sealants put on requires a few different steps. To begin, your dentist will carefully clean off the surface of the teeth that the dental sealants are being placed on and will then make sure they are completely dry. At this point, an acid gel will be placed on your teeth to help roughen them up and allow the sealant to better stick to them. Once the gel has sat on the teeth for a short period of time, it will be removed and the teeth will be dried once more. Lastly, the sealant will be placed on the surface of your teeth and will be instantly cured using a curing light.
Who Can Get Them?
Dental sealants can be used for both children and adults, but are more commonly used for children. The reason why dental sealants are recommended for children is because this provides protection to their premolars and molars from a very young age. Premolars can be protected as early as age 6 and permanent molars can be protected at age 12 when they come in. However, adults who are prone to cavities can have sealants placed on teeth that may be in need of extra protection.
Are They Painful?
As with many other dental procedures, people fear that they are going to be painful. Thankfully, the application of dental sealants is a procedure that is basically painless. Because the sealant is placed on the surface of your tooth, very little work needs to be done on the tooth to prepare it. However, if you are feeling very nervous about the procedure, most dentists offer nitrous oxide, or “laughing gas”, as an excellent way to help calm your nerves for the procedure.
How Long Do They Last?
According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, dental sealants can last for up to 10 years. At this point, you can then have the dental sealant put on again so that your teeth are still protected. This means that you can essentially get the benefits of your dental sealant for your entire life. A great way to extend the life of your dental sealant is simply to take good care of your teeth by brushing, flossing, eating good foods, making regular visits to the dentist, etc.
Getting all of your questions answered about dental sealants before getting them for you or your child is very important and is something that can allow you to feel confident and well informed when it comes to having them placed on your teeth. Gentle Dental Center’s expert dental professionals can place sealants on teeth during a regularly scheduled dental visit. To make an appointment for dental sealants, call (757) 431-1300.