Protecting Your Smile with Dental Sealants
When your tooth is on its way to developing a cavity, a dental sealant may be recommended to prevent its eventual formation. A sealant is a thin plastic coating (usually clear or white in color) that is applied to the chewing surface of your tooth, which shields the enamel from further decay by “sealing out” food, plaque, and bacteria. Sealants are meant to prevent the need for dental fillings, and require no drilling to the enamel or dentin in order to be applied. This type of dental restoration is invisible to the naked eye, and does not change the natural structure of your teeth in any way. Sealants can also last from 5 to 10 years with proper dental hygiene and regular cleanings.
How Can Sealants Preserve My Dental Health?
Because our molars (back teeth) naturally contain grooves and curves, food and plaque can get easily trapped. Conversely, these very same grooves also make it difficult to thoroughly clean out the trapped food and plaque. Sealants address this problem by providing an impenetrable layer on top of the enamel, preventing food, plaque, and bacteria from penetrating the surface of the tooth.
Though sealants are usually recommended for children and teenagers, they are also a good preventative treatment for adult patients with no tooth decay or fillings in their back teeth. As the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and dental sealants are certainly no different.
What Should I Expect during the Procedure?
Sealant application is a simple and straightforward procedure, with no pain or numbing medication involved. It only takes a few minutes to seal one tooth, which means the entire procedure should be completed in just one office visit. Before the sealing treatment can begin, the receiving teeth must be thoroughly cleaned. This is done to prevent errant food, plaque, or bacteria from getting trapped under the sealant. Each receiving tooth is dried by the dentist or hygienist, before an acid solution is applied to the chewing surface. This “roughens up” the enamel, making it easier for the sealant to bond to the tooth. The tooth is again rinsed and dried, before the sealant is painted onto the enamel. Usually, the sealant will dry and harden on its own, but sometimes your dentist may opt for a special curing light to accelerate the setting process. Once the sealant is set, you can go back to eating and drinking like you did before the procedure.
If you want to know more about the advantages of dental sealants and how they preserve your smile, or if you would like to make an appointment, call Family & Cosmetic Dentistry of the Rockies today at (970) 223-6101. For your convenience, you can also reach us online by submitting a contact or appointment request using the form below.