Dental Sealants: Cavity Protection for Your Smile

By Steven Kail on January 23, 2018

A tooth under a protective domeBrushing, flossing, and eating right are great ways to prevent cavities from forming. Sometimes, though, good oral hygiene is not enough. This is why our Jackson, TN family dentistry practice offers dental sealants, an effective means to protect a person's teeth from tooth decay.

Let’s take a moment to consider the basics of dental sealants and who might be an ideal candidate for this simple preventative measure.

Dental Sealants Defined

Dental sealants refer to special plastic coatings that are applied to the chewing surfaces of your teeth. You see, certain teeth have grooves and fissures that are located on their biting surfaces. When food particles wind up in these grooves and fissures, they might not be fully removed while brushing and flossing. This increases the risk of developing tooth decay.

Dental sealants help protect these grooves and fissures, keeping food particles and oral bacteria away from these difficult-to-clean parts of the teeth.

Which Teeth Get Dental Sealants?

Dental sealants are most commonly applied to the biting surfaces of the premolars and molars. These are the teeth located toward the back of the mouth. So long as the permanent molar or premolar has emerged and the biting surface is fully visible, a dental sealant can be applied.

What Do Dental Sealants Feel Like?

While you might expect there to be some difference in sensation when a sealant is on a tooth, the fact is that the dental sealant doesn’t feel like anything. Patients will not notice any difference in the sensation of biting or chewing. There also will not be a plastic taste in the mouth. This is why sealants are such an excellent option for people who may be at risk for tooth decay.

Ideal Candidates for Dental Sealants

Good candidates for dental sealants are typically children between the ages of 6 to 14 whose permanent molars and premolars are coming in. These are the ages when a person is most prone to developing cavities. That said, many adults can similarly benefit from getting dental sealants placed.

The Process for Placing Dental Sealants

Placing dental sealants is quick and easy, performed in the office with very little hassle.

First, the premolars/molars getting sealed are given a thorough cleaning to ensure they are free from food particles and bacteria. Next, the tooth is dried completely. An acidic solution is carefully applied to the biting surface of the teeth being treated to help ensure the plastic resin stays in place.

After rinsing and drying the tooth one last time, the plastic resin is painted right onto the biting surface. The tooth may be exposed to a special curing light to help not fully harden.

That’s all it takes, and dentists can finish the process in minutes.

How Long Do Dental Sealants Last?

Dental sealants can potentially last for up to 10 years, protecting the teeth from cavities with excellent results. During regular dental exams, dentists will check the sealants for chips and cracks, making replacements and fixes as needed to prolong the benefits.

Contact Premier Dental Center

For more information about dental sealants and your many other options for preventing tooth decay, be sure to contact our cosmetic and restorative dentistry center today. The team at Premier Dental Center is here to help you smile with renewed confidence.

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