What is a dental sealant and why would I need one?
Dental sealants are referred to as preventative dentistry because they help to eliminate the need for fillings at a later stage.
These plastic coatings that are usually placed on the back teeth or the molars and premolars, help to protect them from decay and also reduce the chances of needing dental fillings. This is because the dental sealants at Ironside Advanced Dental in Sydney are of the best quality and applied with perfect precision and expertise.
Why are dental sealants beneficial for your teeth?
Those hard-working molars and premolars are the ones responsible for your chewing. Their surfaces have fissures or grooves that food can get stuck in, making them more susceptible to decay. Often these grooves are deep and hard to clean because they can be smaller than a single toothbrush bristle, resulting in plaque accumulation. The acid from the bacteria in that plaque is what attacks your tooth enamel, creating cavities. Although fluoride does help to prevent tooth decay, dental sealants provide that extra bit of protection for those hard to reach areas that would otherwise be vulnerable by providing a smooth surface that covers the fissured areas. The dental sealant once applied, hardens to form a strong, durable and protective coating over your teeth, protecting them from decay.
What are the benefits of dental sealants?
Dental sealants assist patients in maintaining the health and integrity of their smiles in a number of ways. The sealants help to even out the chewing surface of the teeth, decreasing the risk of decay. They are durable and have the potential to last up to 10 years. It is also possible to replace the dental sealant that is on a tooth. Incredibly, the sealants can also be colour-matched to the exact shade of your teeth, making them virtually invisible.
Sealants are the ideal way to reduce the risk of needing fillings and any more potentially costly treatments that may be required to repair cavity damage in the future.
When should I get dental sealants?
The ideal time for dental sealants to be applied is usually from thirteen years old and upwards. Anytime before then, the molars and premolars are still developing and growing out of the gums. Once they are fully set outside of the gum, they are ready to have sealant applied. The wisdom teeth only come out at a later stage and can receive the same treatment, if they are not to be removed. Although this treatment is often used for children and adolescents, it can also be beneficial in adults.
If you are uncertain about getting dental sealants for you or your children, Dr Ironside will happily asses your condition and make a recommendation. He will also discuss with you the benefits of dental sealants and how they may potentially help you avoid dental fillings. At Ironside Advanced Dental we firmly believe in offering an educational experience to all of our patients because we understand that prevention is always better than a cure.
How are dental sealants placed?
The tooth surface is first cleaned thoroughly with a paste and a rotating brush. It is then washed and dried so that an acidic solution can be placed on the fissured area of the chewing surface for a few seconds before being rinsed off. The reason for this acid application is to create microscopic areas and a rougher surface that the dental sealants can more easily attach to. Once the tooth is dried again, the liquid sealant is placed on the tooth and hardened using a special light.
There are also two-component dental sealants that harden without a light. Once the hardening is complete, it becomes a tough plastic varnish coating that can be chewed on as normal.
What to do after a sealant has been applied
Once you have received a dental sealant, your life can pretty much return back to normal. You will be able to chew as before with no detectable change. It is still important to maintain a healthy oral hygiene routine, however. Using a fluoride toothpaste will help to protect all of the tooth surfaces from decay and cavities. Flossing will help clear out the harder to reach places and of course visiting the dentist regularly so that they can identify any potential problem areas that you may have.
All surgical procedures carry risk. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.