Dental sealants are plastic coatings that safeguard the chewing surfaces of your teeth from plaque and bacteria that cause tooth decay. These are mainly applied to the groove of the back teeth, which is the area most prone to decay.
Applying dental sealants is the most effective way to protect your children’s permanent teeth from decay. Adults can also benefit from this coating.
Which Teeth Are Best Suited for Sealants?
Sealants are most beneficial for permanent teeth, particularly the molars. Children normally acquire their first set of molars at about age six. The permanent molars don’t typically come in until around twelve years old, however.
Dental sealants work well when applied shortly after the eruption of the permanent molars for the maximum benefit in the aversion of tooth decay.
Types of Sealants
There are two primary types of dental sealants, and the categories are based on the kind of reaction that occurs as the products set inside the mouth:
- Glass ionomers go through an acid-base reaction as it sets.
- Composite resins undergo a polymerization reaction as they set
Polyacid-modified resins and resin-modified glass ionomers undergo both acid-based and polymerization reactions as it sets. It results in a sealant with characteristics that cut across composite resins and traditional glass ionomers.
Who Can Best Benefit From Dental Sealants?
Dentists generally recommend sealants for young patients, usually those aged between five and seven years. Children’s permanent molars usually erupt at this age. Applying sealants before the baby molars fall out would force the need to reapply dental sealants later.
The process of applying dental sealants involves several steps:
- The dentist thoroughly cleans your teeth
- Each tooth is properly dried
- The dentist roughens the teeth surfaces using an acidic agent
- They rinse and dry the teeth
- They paint the sealant onto the teeth using a curing, UV light to accelerate the drying process
Dental sealants provide an extra layer to protect your teeth from cavities. It shouldn’t be a substitute for regular brushing and flossing. Even with sealants, you should uphold proper oral hygiene and visit your dentist regularly.