Dental sealants are one of the most effective interventions for preventing tooth decay, especially among children. 🧒
Intended to prevent tooth decay, sealants are placed on the biting surfaces of teeth in a liquid form and cured with light activation creating a smooth surface. This creates a physical barrier and allows the tooth to be cleaned more easily. Sealants are typically placed on the back teeth as early as the age of 6 when the 1st permanent molars erupt. Grooves, pits, and fissures that are present on the biting surfaces of molars and premolars are susceptible to decay because of their anatomy which allows the trapping of food particles and promoting the presence of bacteria. Their anatomy inhibits protection from saliva and fluoride and favours plaque accumulation.
Thorough brushing and flossing can remove food particles and plaque from smooth tooth surfaces but cannot always get into the grooves and pits to remove the food and plaque. The grooves of the teeth can actually be narrower than a single toothbrush bristle making it difficult for the brush bristles to get into these spaces.
Sealants only protect the surface area that they are applied too, therefore, fluoride treatment is still indicated as it helps to protect all the surfaces of the tooth from decay.
INDICATIONS for preventive dental sealants include patients or teeth that are at HIGH ⬆️ risk of dental decay
✅ a history of dental decay
✅ pits and fissures that are deep
✅ poor oral hygiene
✅ signs of early dental decay
✅ poor plaque control
✅ enamel defects, for example, dental hypoplasia
✅ orthodontic appliances
CONTRAINDICATIONS for preventive dental sealants include patients or teeth that are at LOW ⬇️ risk of dental decay
✅ a balanced diet low in sugars and carbohydrates
✅ exceptional oral hygiene
✅ teeth with shallow, self-cleansing pits & fissures
✅ teeth that are partially erupted without adequate moisture control
✅ teeth with previously restored pit & fissures
Significantly less invasive than a dental filling which can hinder the tooth’s strength, sealants are also at a lesser cost than fillings. Typically lasting about 5-10 years, possibly even longer, dental sealants are inspected during routine dental visits as they can naturally wear and may even become damaged. Repairing a sealant is just as easy as the initial placement. They are considered quick & easy, entirely painless and only take a few minutes per tooth.
WHAT TO EXPECT!
👉the teeth are thoroughly cleaned
👉each tooth is then dried & cotton is placed around the tooth to keep it dry during preparation and placement
👉an acid solution is put on the chewing surface of the tooth to roughen the surface, which helps the sealant
adhere to the tooth
👉the teeth are then rinsed and dried
👉a sealant is then painted onto the tooth enamel, where it bonds directly to the tooth and hardens. A curing
light is used to help the sealant harden.
Wondering if your dental insurance covers the cost of dental sealants? Many do include sealants as a benefit but may have some stipulations. Check with your dental insurance carrier for your plan details!