Rockford Dentist - The Teeth People
What are sealants?
Think of them as raincoats for your teeth. When the cavity-causing bacteria that live in everyone’s mouth meet leftover food particles, they produce acids that can create holes in teeth. These holes are cavities. After sealant has been applied it keeps those bits of food out and stops bacteria and acid from settling on your teeth—just like a raincoat keeps you clean and dry during a storm.
Why and Who should get sealants
Although thorough brushing and flossing can remove food particles and plaque from smooth surfaces of teeth, they cannot always get into all the nooks and crannies of the back teeth to remove the food and plaque. Sealants protect these vulnerable areas from tooth decay by "sealing out" plaque and food.
Because of the likelihood of developing decay in the depressions and grooves of the premolars and molars, children and teenagers are obvious candidates for sealants. However, adults without decay or fillings in their molars can also benefit from sealants.
Typically, children should get sealants on their permanent molars and premolars as soon as these teeth come in. In this way, the dental sealants can protect the teeth through the cavity-prone years of ages 6 to 14.
In some cases, dental sealants may also be appropriate for baby teeth, such as when a child's baby teeth have deep depressions and grooves. Because baby teeth play such an important role in holding the correct spacing for permanent teeth, it is important to keep these teeth healthy so they are not lost too early.
How are sealants applied?
The dental sealants procedure is quick and painless.
First, we clean off the teeth where the sealant is being applied. After the teeth have been dried off, we put a low-acidic solution on the teeth that will help the sealant bond to them.
Then comes the application of the tooth sealant. Our dentist or dental hygienist will paint a thin layer of sealant over each tooth being treated, which will bond with the tooth enamel.
It’s important to get the sealant application dried quickly, especially with kids, who tend to squirm after a few minutes in the chair. We use a curing light that speeds up the drying process. It generally takes less than a minute.
The sealant hardens and then forms a protective barrier between teeth and bacteria.
The entire dental sealants procedure lasts just a few minutes. It takes much less time than getting a filling.