How a General Dentistry Uses Dental Sealants

How a General Dentistry Uses Dental Sealants from Brighter Smile Family Dentistry & Orthodontics in Sterling, VADental sealants are used in general dentistry to protect teeth from developing cavities. They form a defensive layer on top of molars and premolars to prevent food and germs at bay. Here is additional information on how the dental industry utilizes sealants to protect patients' teeth.

What are dental sealants?

Sealants are slender plastic coatings that dentists paint onto the chewing surfaces of your back teeth. They help prevent decay by creating a shield over the enamel of each tooth covered with them. Dental sealants aid in general dentistry by blocking food and plaque from penetrating the surface of molars and premolars. Though careful flossing and brushing remove some food particles and plaque from teeth, thorough hygiene cannot always remove debris from the crevices of back teeth.

Who benefits from sealants?

Children and teenagers are ideal candidates for dental sealants. The first set of molars typically breaks through the gums around age 6 and the second set breaks through around age 11. As soon as the molars appear, they can be sealed to protect them from cavities.

Some kids benefit from sealants on their baby teeth if they have deeper grooves than most other children. Additionally, adults with generally healthy teeth can benefit from sealants.

Can sealants be placed over cavities?

In some instances, sealants can be placed over teeth with early signs of decay to thwart further deterioration of the tooth. When a clear sealant is used, your dentist can monitor the tooth to ensure the sealant is working as intended.

How are sealants applied?

Applying a dental sealant is painless and quick. Your dentist needs only several minutes to spread the material over each tooth that requires it. The process consists of the following steps:

  1. The teeth to be sealed are cleaned rigorously
  2. The teeth are dried and covered with a porous material to keep them dry
  3. The professional places an acidic solution on the surface of the teeth to make them coarse enough to allow the sealant to bond on the teeth
  4. The teeth are rinsed and dried
  5. The dentist paints the sealant onto the tooth enamel to bond and harden
  6. Sometimes a curing light assists in the hardening process

How long do sealants last?

Sealants can work to protect teeth against decay for as many as 10 years. However, they still need to be checked for wear and tear at your regular semiannual dental appointments. According to the Center for Disease Control, sealants protect against 80% of cavities for the first two years after application. For up to four years, the CDC states that sealants protect against 50% of cavities. Your dentist can tell you when it is time to replace your dental sealants for optimal cavity prevention.

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Conclusion

Dental sealants are used in general dentistry to combat cavities in patients' back teeth where food and plaque tend to get stuck. They work by coating the teeth and providing a protective layer over top of them.

Request an appointment or call Brighter Smile Family Dentistry & Orthodontics at 703-994-4044 for an appointment in our Sterling office.

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