Brushing, flossing, and visiting the dentist are the three key ingredients to having healthy teeth and gums. These things are great in preventing the onset of gum diseases and tooth decay. But as dental technology develops, new treatments are discovered to prevent tooth decay. One of them is dental sealants.
What Are Dental Sealants?
This newer treatment method employs a thin and clear plastic coating applied into teeth to protect them against tooth decay. A sealant is applied to the surfaces of a tooth, especially those that are used to chewing food, as these surfaces are most likely to be affected by tooth decay.
The sealant keeps germs as well as food particles out of the teeth, especially within the grooves where food particles are often collected. This type of treatment is best used for permanent teeth, particularly the molars. It is very effective in preventing tooth decay when applied shortly after the permanent molars have erupted.
How Are They Applied?
Sealants are very easy to apply, and do not require drilling or removal of any tooth structure. The dentist will clean the teeth first, then a gel is applied and left on for a few seconds. The teeth are rinsed and dried before the sealant is painted on. A special light is then often used to harden the sealant. Once applied properly, a sealant can last for 5 to 10 years as long as proper dental hygiene is observed. It is also crucial that you visit the dentist regularly to check on the condition of the dental sealant.
In the long run, sealants are very beneficial, as they prevent cavities which can affect the health and quality of your teeth. However, it is good to know that you do not use sealant as a replacement for regular oral health habits.