Sealants (pit and fissure sealants) are transparent resin coatings placed on molars that protect teeth from demineralization and decay. Sealants also defend teeth from decay, strengthening enamel and preventing food particles and bacteria from entering molar fissures. By smoothing the irregular surfaces of molars and making them less likely to attract and trap food particles, sealants significantly reduce the risk of molars from suffering cavities and decay.
The Sealant Procedure
Since tooth enamel is nerveless, patients do not experience any pain or discomfort during placement of a sealant. Before sealing molars, the dentist will examine your teeth to determine if any decay exists. If discovered, your dentist will remove decay, clean and dry the tooth. Next, a roughening solution is placed on the tooth to ensure sealing material adheres to the tooth properly. Finally, your dentist will “paint” the tooth with the sealant and let it sit for about one minute. Hardening of sealants is completed using a curing light that interacts chemically with the sealant’s ingredients.
Caring For Your Sealants
Following placement of sealants, patients can eat just about anything they wish but should avoid hard candy, ice and other foods that could fracture sealants. Patients with sealants also need to visit their dentist every six months for cleanings, check-ups, and examination of sealants to determine if they are in place and preventing decay properly. Sealants that have been degraded due to simple wear and tear should be reapplied as needed.
The American Dental Association states that sealants are one of the most underutilized and beneficial dental procedures available. While fluoride helps reduce tooth decay, it cannot provide the kind of adequate protection against cavities that sealants do. To learn more about sealants, contact your dentist in Beavercreek, Ohio today.