You’ve heard the expression, “Prevention is better than cure,” and it has never been more true than in dental health. Avoiding damage to your teeth through sound oral care beats trying to fix problems after they arise. Pit and fissure sealants or Dental Sealants, for example, are one of several methods for staving off the decay that leads to dental caries.
Thorough brushing and flossing helps remove food particles and plaque from the smooth surfaces of teeth, but toothbrushes can’t reach all the way into the depressions and grooves to extract all food and plaque. While fluoride helps prevent decay and helps protect all the surfaces of the teeth, dental sealants add extra protection for the grooved and pitted areas.
Deep pit & fissure areas can easily fill with bacteria, which may be difficult to remove with regular oral hygiene. As this bacteria grows, it interacts with the starches in the food you eat, turning them into acids that can eat away at tooth enamel. If this process causes enough decay, it eventually spreads to the inner pulp(nerves) of the tooth. This can result in extremely painful and unsightly damage, which can cause lifelong dental problems.
Sealants are a safe and painless way of protecting your teeth from tooth decay. A sealant is a protective plastic coating, which is applied to the biting surfaces of the back teeth. The sealant forms a hard shield that keeps food and bacteria from getting into the tiny grooves in the teeth and causing decay.
HOW IT IS DONE?
The process is usually quick and straightforward, taking only a few minutes for each tooth. The tooth is thoroughly cleaned, prepared with a special solution, and dried. The liquid sealant is then applied and allowed to set hard – usually by shining a bright light onto it. It is totally pain free, and the teeth don’t feel any different afterwards.
HOW LONG IT LASTS?
Sealants usually last for many years, but need a regular checkup to make sure that the seal is still intact. They can wear over time, and sometimes the dentist need to add or replace some sealant to be sure that no decay can start underneath it.
BEST TIME TO GET IT?
Sealants are often applied as soon as the first permanent teeth start to come through. This is usually between 6 and 7 years of age. The rest are usually sealed as soon as they appear which can be any time between 11 and 14 years of age.
IS BRUSHING STILL REQUIRED AFTER SEALANTS?
Yes. It is still very important to do this. The smooth, sealed surface is now much easier to keep clean and healthy with normal brushing. Dental sealants reduces tooth decay and the number of fillings you might need.