Dental Sealants – What Are They?

Excerpt: Even though they are one of the most, if not the most common oral health afflictions
Table of Contents

What Are Dental Sealants?

Dental sealants are a thin material coating that is used to prevent cavities.

What Are Dental Sealants?

Dental sealants are a thin material coating that is used to prevent cavities.

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Does Everyone Need Dental Sealants?

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends placing pit-and-fissure sealants on the biting and chewing surfaces of the teeth of children for these reasons:

  • Sealing the grooves prevents tooth decay.
  • Sealants can prevent “microcavities” from developing early.

What Materials Are Tooth Sealants Made From?

Glass Ionomer

Your dentist will typically use glass ionomer sealants on primary teeth in infants. These sealants help to strengthen the infant’s tooth as well as prevent decay.

Pros

Glass ionomer sealants are useful for new teeth since they release fluoride, which can reduce the chance of dental decay by as much as 35%. The fluoride will eventually run out, but the increases in strength of the newly fortified teeth will remain after the fluoride is gone.

Cons

The glass ionomer sealants typically, have a lower retention rate than the other sealants that are regularly used. This means that they will require more maintenance and upkeep to be effective.

Composite resin

These sealants are applied to the chewing and biting surfaces of the teeth, then a curing light is used to complete the process. 

Pros

  • Blend well to the natural color of the tooth.
  • Lasts 5-10 years without much maintenance
  • High retention rate

Cons

Compared to the glass sealants, composite resin sealants do not release fluoride. 

How Are Dental Sealants Placed?

Dental sealants have a very simple and straightforward application process. They shouldn’t impact your daily activities much even when are first applied to your teeth.

The procedure consists of three main steps:

Step 1

The sealants are made in the dental clinic, and they do not need to be sent away to a lab. The dentist will dry the tooth to prepare it for treatment.

Step 2

The dentist will then use an etching gel which is applied to the grooves of the tooth. This gel will cause tiny pores on the surface of the enamel of the tooth to open up. These pores will allow the sealant to bond to the tooth.

Step 3

The gel will be rinsed off the tooth, and the tooth will be dried again. Afterward, the sealant material will be applied to the grooves of the teeth. Depending on the material, they will either use a chemical, or a light to cure the sealant and complete the process.

Frequently Asked Questions

No, dental sealants generally, are under $100 per tooth, even without insurance!

Your dentist will be able to tell if you or your child is a suitable candidate for sealants. 

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