All teeth have depressions and grooves, but the back teeth have deeper, more numerous pits, recesses, and fissures than other teeth. This characteristic, combined with the fact that they are more difficult to reach with a tooth brush, can increase the risk of tooth decay, especially among youngsters. Fortunately, dental sealants can reduce that risk. In Windsor, CT, family dentist Stephen D. Lipman applies these thin plastic coatings to children’s teeth to help place them on the path to a lifetime of good oral health. If you would like to find out more about dental sealants and children’s dentistry, please contact us today.
Sealants are a simple way to help keep teeth healthy, and to prevent more extensive and costly problems.
About Dental Sealants
Fluoride in toothpastes, drinking water, and fluoridated mouth rinses help protect the surfaces of the teeth from decay, but dental sealants offer an extra layer of protection. Also known as pit-and-fissure sealants, this treatment is an important part of preventive dentistry. The sealant is a special type of plastic material that is painted onto the chewing surfaces of the back teeth. The material hardens and bonds with the surface of the tooth, filling the pits and fissures, forming a barrier against decay. They keep food particles out of hard-to-reach places where they would otherwise get trapped and break down into acids that cause decay.
Candidacy for Dental Sealants
Although dental sealants are mostly associated with preventing tooth decay in children, they are also effective for teenagers as well as adults. In general, children are advised to have sealants put on their molars and premolars as soon as they develop. The first permanent molars, known as the six-year molars, appear between the ages of five and seven. The second permanent molars, known as the twelve-year molars, appear between the ages of eleven and fourteen. If the other teeth have pits and grooves, Dr. Lipman may also recommend that they be sealed. Sometimes it is also a good idea to seal baby teeth if they have many fissures. Even though the child will lose the teeth, it is important for them to remain healthy while they are in place.
The application of dental sealants is simple and painless. First, the surface of the tooth will be cleaned with paste and a rotating brush. After it is rinsed and dried, the tooth will receive an acidic solution on the fissured area for a few seconds to roughen it slightly. This allows the sealant to bond securely to the tooth. The tooth will be rinsed and dried again, and then the liquid sealant is applied. Depending on the type of dental sealant used, a light may be used to harden it. Other sealants set by themselves. The sealant is either clear, white, or slightly tinted, and it is not visible on the teeth.
Sealants can last for up to ten years. Dr. Lipman will examine them for chips and wear at the patient’s regular dental appointments. If they need repair, it can be done easily by applying more sealant material. Dental sealants have been used since the 1970s, and they have proven to be effective in the prevention of decay on the chewing surfaces of the back teeth. They are a simple way to help keep teeth healthy, and to prevent more extensive and costly problems.
If you are interested in dental sealants for yourself or a family member, please contact us to schedule an appointment with Dr. Lipman.