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What Is a Dental Sealant Used in General Dentistry?
When seeking general dentistry care, having dental sealants placed is a common procedure people opt for as a preventative option in addition to six-month check-ups and cleanings. For patients who want to take extra care to protect the teeth from tooth decay, sealants are an effective solution to keep molars and teeth with deep groves from getting damaged.
What to know if considering a dental sealant
Understanding what the dental sealant procedure entails and knowing how long the results last can help patients evaluate the benefits for their dental health. Learn the answers to common questions patients ask about this treatment.
What is a dental sealant?
A dental sealant is a type of coating applied to the teeth to help prevent damage from tooth decay and cavities. This procedure is typically quick and simple and can often be done in a general dentistry office. The first step is for the dentist to clean each tooth that a sealant is to be applied to and dry it completely. Cotton is used to help absorb any saliva that builds up during the application process.
To help make the surface of the tooth rougher and more receptive to the sealant, an acidic solution is painted onto the teeth. This mixture is washed off and the teeth are dried once again before the sealant is applied to the exterior of the tooth. Depending on the process used by the general dentistry office, this is sometimes the last step. Some dentists may use a curing light to ensure the sealant fully hardens.
Who can benefit from a dental sealant?
Sealants are recommended for all children and teenagers as each permanent molar comes in. These teeth are especially susceptible to tooth decay as there are many deep grooves and lines in the teeth that can harbor harmful bacteria and plaque. Some children may also benefit from having baby teeth sealed if there are especially deep ruts in the enamel. While not as necessary, many adults choose to have sealants reapplied. However, if the patient already has significant decay or fillings, there is no point in having a sealant placed on the affected teeth.
How long do dental sealants last?
In general, a dental sealant lasts up to 10 years. However, it is possible for the coating to get chipped or damaged before this, so keeping up with regular check-ups are important for making sure the sealants are still in good condition. Once the sealant wears away, it is a good idea to have it reapplied to continue safeguarding the teeth and preventing further decay from occurring.
If you have healthy teeth you want to keep cavity-free for years to come, dental sealants help provide an extra layer of protection from plaque and food buildup. While many people have sealants placed while a child after first getting permanent molars, some adults neglect to have the coating reapplied after the effects of the treatment wear off. If interested in learning more about this procedure, start by asking these questions and any others that may come up at the next general dentistry appointment.
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