If your dentist has recently mentioned dental sealants, or if you’ve read about them online and you’re not sure what they are, don’t worry. You’re not alone. While dental sealants are becoming more and more popular, many people don’t know exactly what they are or how they work.
What are Dental Sealants?
Dental sealants are a form of preventative care. Your dentist may recommend these to help prevent any future cavities or tooth decay, especially if you are at high risk for developing these due to an illness or vitamin deficiency. Dental sealants are thin plastic caps or coatings, similar to a crown, that go over your teeth to protect the enamel. These sit on top of your teeth and do not require any additional work such as drilling.
Why Should You Consider Getting Dental Sealants?
No matter how well you brush, floss, and rinse your mouth, there will always be some food particles leftover – either stuck in between your teeth or in the grooves of your molars. Over time, these can build up and attract bacteria to your mouth while slowly decaying your teeth. Dental sealants will help prevent this from happening by covering the enamel of your tooth, preventing both food and bacteria from getting into the grooves and weakening your teeth.
Dental sealants are also a good idea if you have any health condition or vitamin deficiency that results in weakened enamel. While a sealant won’t protect your teeth from your body, it will protect your teeth from any bacteria that try to take advantage of your weakened enamel. This will save you time and money in the long run as you won’t have to pay for more expensive repairs such as fillings, crowns, and even extractions. It can also keep you from pain — so long as your teeth are protected and don’t have cavities, your chances for an infection or your tooth breaking are greatly reduced.
What is the Process for Getting Dental Sealants?
Placing dental sealants is actually a fairly simple, painless process, which is another reason that they are so popular.
First, your dentist will most likely want to perform a cleaning. It is important to make sure that your teeth are as clean as possible so that no bacteria are trapped. If bacteria are trapped, then you will be unable to reach them while brushing, and this can greatly harm the condition and health of your teeth.
Your dentist will then dry your teeth and line them with cotton swabs, so they remain dry throughout the procedure. If you have ever had a filling placed, then it is similar to that process. The teeth are then prepped for the sealant and recleaned and dried. Finally, the sealant is applied and left to dry.
This process is quick and simple, and so long as no complications occur such as your teeth needing to be dried again, it will only take a few minutes for all of your teeth to be sealed and completed.
Is There Any Aftercare for Dental Sealants?
One of the best things about dental sealants is that they do not require special treatment or care after they are placed on your teeth. In order to keep them in good condition, and therefore your teeth in good health, it is important to practice proper dental hygiene. This includes brushing, flossing, and using mouthwash twice a day. Chewing sugar-free gum is also advised. You also need to continue seeing your dentist at least once every six months. This is not just for your biannual cleaning, but also so that your dentist can check your dental sealants for any flaws or imperfections. A crack in the sealant can allow bacteria to reach the inside and damage your teeth, and your brush won’t be able to reach in that crack. A cracked or flawed dental sealant will need to be repaired or replaced immediately. Other than this, however, there are no major lifestyle changes that you will need to make.
How Long Do Dental Sealants Last?
How long your dental sealants last depends on how well you take care of them. Of course, as you read above, the aftercare is fairly simple and doesn’t require anything other than proper dental hygiene and regular dentist visits. So long as you follow your dentist’s instructions, your dental sealants should last for around ten years. However, if they become chipped or cracked, it does not mean that you will have to go through the entire process again. Your dentist will be able to reapply the sealant to a single tooth whenever problems or flaws arise.
If you are interested in learning more about dental sealants or scheduling an appointment to have some placed over your teeth, contact our practice today or give us a call at (614) 333-9442.