Dental sealants consist of a thin layer of acrylic that is painted over the surface of back molars. Once applied, they establish an effective barrier against harmful bacteria and acids that could otherwise directly access the teeth and cause serious damage. Sealants also work to smooth out the deep grooves and fissures that are commonly found on back teeth, making these teeth easier to clean and maintain. Nearly 75 percent of all tooth decay is found in these locations, and sealants make this type of damage much less likely to occur.
People who receive dental sealants will not need to make any changes to their usual brushing and flossing habits. Many people who receive dental sealants are children and teenagers who are still developing proper brushing and flossing techniques. In fact, baby teeth are often great candidates for dental sealants, due to the fact that they tend to feature particularly deep grooves and fissures that are prone to becoming damaged by deterioration or decay.
Applying dental sealants is a quick and easy process that only requires a couple of minutes per tooth. Many patients even receive dental sealants during a regular dental checkup. The process starts by drying any tooth that is going to be sealed. Using a cotton swab, the teeth are kept dry throughout the procedure. Next, an etching solution is applied to the teeth to roughen their outer surfaces. This will help the sealants bond with the teeth more easily. At this point, the acrylic sealant material is carefully painted on the teeth and allowed to dry completely. If maintained properly, a set of dental sealants should remain intact for up to ten years.
If you would like to learn more about sealants and how they can be used to protect your teeth, please call us at (209) 214-6164 to schedule an appointment.