Even if you maintain a fiercely dedicated oral care regime, cavities are still a risk. The shape and structure of your teeth might be just the right environment for dental issues and if so you might be a good candidate for dental sealants.
Dental sealants are thin plastic coatings which are painted on to a tooth’s chewing surface to help prevent tooth decay. Sealants are usually used on a person’s back teeth and they work by bonding into depressions and grooves, creating a protective shield over the enamel of a tooth, guarding vulnerable areas against plaque and food that works its way into places difficult to reach with traditional brushing and flossing.
Are Sealants Right for You?
With a higher likelihood of attracting tooth decay in premolars and molars, children and teenagers can greatly benefit from sealants, ideally applied on permanent teeth as soon as they come in order to get the most protection during the “cavity years” of ages 6-14. Adults with no decay or fillings can also do well with sealants administered by your Austin dentist.
How are Dental Sealants Applied?
Dental sealant application is a simple process and painless for our Austin patients. The entire procedure for each tooth takes less than five minutes; here’s how it works:
- Teeth are thoroughly cleaned.
- Teeth to be sealed are dried and absorbent material such as cotton is used around the teeth to keep them dry.
- An acidic solution is applied to the chewing surface of each tooth to roughen the surface in preparation for bonding the sealant, and the teeth are then rinsed and dried.
- Sealant is painted on to the tooth’s enamel, and cured if needed with a special light.
Do Dental Sealants Hurt?
Some Austin area patients have concern about potential pain related to dental sealants but there is nothing to be nervous about. Most sealants are made with a liquid resin which is simply brushed on to the teeth, hardening in just a few minutes.
The resin then dries into a hard form like plastic and is invisible. Best of all, sealants won’t make your teeth feel any different than their original state.
How Long Will my Sealants Last?
With proper care, your new dental sealants can last about 10 years, at which time they don’t have to be removed. They gradually wear away over time and can be reapplied as needed. During the time they are attached to your teeth, sealants hold up very well to everyday use. Undue pressure, of course, like eating Jawbreakers for instance, is not recommended.
Your dentist will check on your sealants at regular checkups to be sure bacteria is not taking up residence and calcifying into tartar. Remember that sealants are not a substitute for diligent oral care. Always brush twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush, floss every day, and use a fluoride rinse to ensure extra protection.