What are Dental Sealants?
Sunnyvale preventive dentist Dr. Antonious explains. A sealant is a clear or tinted plastic protective coating that is painted onto the chewing surfaces of the back teeth (molars and premolars), the area where most cavities form.
Molars and premolars have grooves and crevices (which dentists call pits and fissures). Food can get stuck in these crevices; some crevices are so deep that the bristles of a toothbrush can’t reach into them. Pits and fissures provide the perfect environment for bacteria to grow and cause cavities to form.
Sealants help to prevent cavaties from happening. They cover the grooves and crevices so that food cannot get into them.
What Are Dental Sealants Used For?
Dental sealants are most commonly applied to children’s teeth to help prevent cavities. Not only are sealants very effective, they cost a lot less than cavity fillings.
Sunnyvale preventive dentist Dr. Antonious recommends that sealants be applied to each permanent molar as soon as possible. This can even be when the tooth is partially erupted. It depends on how accessible the tooth is and whether Dr. Antonious will be able to keep it dry during the application process.
If your child is at high risk for cavities, Sunnyvale preventive dentist Dr. Antonious may decide to seal your child’s premolars, or bicuspids, as well. The premolars are the teeth directly in front of the molars. Also, fluoride application as a preventive measure at least once a year can help children with high risk for cavities.
Dentists normally don’t suggest sealants for primary (baby) teeth. However, they can be beneficial for children who have a lot of cavities, or are at high risk of cavities.
Sealants sometimes are used in adults who are at increased risk for developing cavities. At our Sunnyvale Preventive Dental Care Clinic in Sunnyvale, CA, we can determine whether this procedure is appropriate for you.
Dental Sealant Preparation
Applying sealants is a quick, painless procedure that can be done during a routine dental visit. No injections are needed. However, it is very important that the child sit still during the treatment so the tooth or teeth being worked on will stay dry. Keeping the tooth dry helps the sealants to adhere better.
How Dental Sealants are Applied
Dr. Antonious cleans the area to remove any food or debris in and around the teeth, then makes sure the teeth are completely dry so that the sealant can stick. The sealant is applied in liquid form and flows over and into the pits and fissures. The sealant usually hardens (sets) within 20 to 60 seconds, or it is set with a special light.
Dental Sealant Follow-Up
Studies show that sealants can last a long time, sometimes as long as 15 years. But they are plastic and don’t last forever.
At Sunnyvale Dental Care preventive dental office we will check your child’s previously placed sealants during your child’s routine checkups. If necessary, sealants can be replaced.
Remember, sealants work well, but they can’t keep your child cavity-free without some help. Good oral care at home is still very important. It’s also important for adults who have received sealants to continue to practice good oral hygiene by brushing 3 times a day, flossing at least once a day, and visiting our Sunnyvale office regularly.
Help your child to:
- Brush twice a day with a pea-size amount of fluoride toothpaste, and floss where teeth touch.
- Get the right amount of fluoride, either by drinking fluoridated water or taking fluoride liquid or pills.
- See Sunnyvale preventive dentist Dr. Antonious regularly.
Although it is rare, sealants can cause problems in children who are allergic to plastics or components of plastics.
When To Call A Professional
Ask Sunnyvale Dental Care preventive dental clinic staff to talk with you about the benefits that sealants might have for your child. Although most pediatric dentists (dentist who specifically treat children) use sealants routinely, not all dentists do so.
Dr. Antonious routinely advises parents if he finds out if sealants will be helpful in preventing cavities for their kids.
Learn more when you visit Sunnyvale Dental Care Practice. Call Dr. Antonious at 408-720-0900 to schedule a consultation today!