What are Dental Sealants?
Before you can answer the question: When Are Dental Sealants A Fit? You must first know what dental sealants are. They are made of a special clear or white plastic coating. This material is molded to the top of the teeth (the biting surfaces) that have deep grooves or pits to protect them from decaying. Dental sealants form a hard shield, preventing bacteria and food substances from penetrating the tiny grooves in the teeth. They are painless and safe.
Which Teeth Need Sealing?
Dental sealants are applied to the back teeth—molars and the premolars—since they are the only teeth with pits and grooves on their biting surface. The dental team will advice you on the teeth to seal after examining your molars and premolars. You should note that some teeth naturally have deep grooves that need sealing, while others have shallow grooves that do not require sealing.
When to Use Dental Sealants
There is no universal rule for when to use dental sealants. However, you need to protect your child’s teeth as soon as permanent molars and premolars grow.
The perfect time to apply dental sealants is when the child’s permanent back teeth grow fully. At this time, the deep grooves and pits on the chewing surfaces of the molars are easily filled before they start decaying. It is important to protect the molars from the earliest stage as it highly reduces the chances of developing cavities and dental problems later on. The best time to apply dental sealants is between age six and eleven since the first adult teeth come in at these ages.
If you do not manage to apply sealants as a child, you can do so at teenage. The earlier, the better.
Even though you are recommended to apply dental sealants at childhood, you may need to apply them at a later stage if you did not have the procedure done at your childhood. You may also apply sealants as an adult if pits develop in teeth that lacked them at childhood. Note that whether you apply them at childhood or adulthood, the procedure is the same. The only difference may be that you will prevent much decay when you apply them early enough.
In some special cases, it may be necessary to apply dental sealants on baby teeth, especially when your child’s baby teeth have deep grooves and depressions. Baby teeth play a significant role in holding the right spacing that permanent teeth will occupy. Therefore, these teeth should be kept healthy to avoid losing them before they develop.
What if You Do Not Have Dental Sealants?
Teeth with deep pits, such as molars and premolars, are very susceptible to decay. Bacteria can easily penetrate them and get into their tiny crevices and stay there. Note that it is quite challenging to clean fissures in your teeth with a toothbrush and floss. When bacteria stick on your teeth’s pits, it decays your teeth rapidly, creating cavities. When these cavities are not attended to in time, you may lose your teeth or will soon require intensive dental procedures such as root canals. As it is said, prevention is better than cure.
How Long Do Dental Sealants Last?
Unless damaged, dental sealants can last as long as your tooth lasts. In case a dental sealant is damaged, you should place a replacement sealant on top of that tooth.
How to Care for Dental Sealants
Dental sealants do not need any special treatments, provided that you brush twice daily and floss often. You may opt for a fluoridated, non-alcoholic mouthwash after brushing to achieve additional protection.
You need to protect your teeth and that of your children as early as possible. All dentists can apply dental sealants. Some people have sealants applied but are unaware of it. For more information on when to use dental sealants, do not hesitate to contact us. At East Amherst Dental Center, we are always happy to serve you.