Dental Sealants, which are sometimes also referred to as pit and fissure sealants, or simply called sealants are a type of dental treatments meant to prevent tooth decay. As such, they are plastic coatings on the occlusal (chewing) surface of the back teeth, which are the molars and pre-molars, to protect them from decay-causing acids and bacteria.
Why do we need dental sealants on our teeth?
The chewing surface on our permanent teeth has grooves known as fissures. Fissures can get deep, are narrow than your brush’s bristle and are difficult to clean. This makes them vulnerable to decay since plaque accumulates easily in these depressions. While Fluoride can definitely help in protecting the complete oral surface, sealants greatly enhance the protection for grooves by covering the fissured area and acting as a barrier between enamel and acids and plaque.
When does the need for dental sealant arise?
Dental sealants are usually placed once the chewing surface on molars erupts completely. In most cases, molars and premolars erupt until the age of 13 years. Once they have completely erupted beyond the gums, dental sealants can be successfully placed.
Dental sealants are applied in a dentist’s office and the procedure isn’t time-consuming at all. And since there’s no drilling or removal involved, the dental procedure is also completely painless. The first step requires the dentist/hygienist to polish the surface of the tooth with a pumice paste, wash it with water and dry it. This is done to remove plaque and debris present in the depressions. Then, an acidic solution is applied to the fissured area on the tooth’s surface for a couple of seconds before being rinsed off. This is done to create microscopic areas with surface harder than the surrounding enamel and it lets the sealant attach to the tooth. Once the tooth dries, the liquid dental sealant is placed on the hardened tooth. Finally, the sealant is dried and hardened using a special light. In some cases, two-component dental sealants are used that work well without any sort of light.
Dental sealants are known to last 5-10 years. But they still require frequent examinations by dentists. However, if required, they can also be placed again.
Can it be applied to older children and adults?
However rare, it cannot be denied that sealants have been placed on teenagers and adults with deep fissures prone to dental caries. Your dentist can help you decide if you require them or not. If you’re living in Delhi and would like to enquire more about dental sealants and why your children need them, make sure you schedule an appointment at Dr. Bhutani Dental Clinic.