Plastic coatings, commonly known as dental sealants, protect the chewing surfaces of teeth from the damaging effects of acid. Sealants are particularly useful when applied to molar and premolar teeth.
Their primary purpose is to seal the narrow grooves found in the back teeth to minimize the accumulation of food particles and bacteria in these crevices.
If applied before the onset of dental decay, sealants can be highly effective in preventing cavities and associated dental problems.
Dental sealants are one type of preventative dental care offered by Dr. Ferguson and our team at Black Point Dental in Honolulu, HI.
Dental sealants are recommended for children and teenagers, as they are more prone to cavities and tooth decay due to their developing teeth and inconsistent oral hygiene practices.
Also, adults with healthy teeth and no prior history of tooth decay can benefit from dental sealants. Your dentist can evaluate your dental health and recommend whether dental sealants are necessary for preventive dental care.
Dental sealants are applied in a simple and painless process. Here are the steps involved:
- First, the teeth are cleaned thoroughly, and each tooth is dried.
- An acidic gel is applied to the chewing surface of the teeth to roughen them up.
- The teeth are then rinsed and dried again.
- The sealant material is applied to the grooves and pits of the teeth using a small brush.
- A special curing light hardens the sealant material, forming a protective shield over the tooth.
The entire process usually takes only a few minutes per tooth, and patients can resume their normal activities immediately after the procedure.
Dental sealants are highly effective in preventing tooth decay and cavities, and they can last for many years with proper care. In general, sealants can last up to 10 years.
Their lifespan may vary depending on factors such as the quality of the sealant material, the patient's oral hygiene habits, and their diet.
It is recommended to have the sealants checked regularly by a dentist during routine dental check-ups to ensure that they are still intact and functioning correctly. If any issues are detected, the dentist can repair or replace the sealants to maintain optimal dental health.
Caring for dental sealants is quite easy and involves the following practices:
- Maintain good oral hygiene: Brush your teeth at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and floss daily to remove food particles and plaque from the teeth. This will prevent bacteria from growing under the sealant and causing decay.
- Avoid hard or sticky foods: Try not to chew on hard objects like ice, hard candy, or popcorn kernels. Also, avoid sticky foods like chewing gum or caramel that can pull the sealant off your teeth.
- Visit your dentist regularly: Schedule regular dental check-ups and cleanings to ensure your teeth and sealants are in good condition. Your dentist can detect and fix any problems early before they become more significant.
- Wear a mouthguard: If you play sports or grind your teeth at night, wear a mouthguard to protect your teeth and sealants from damage.
By following these simple steps, you can maintain your dental sealants for many years and keep your teeth healthy and cavity-free.
Dental sealants are considered a safe and effective way to prevent tooth decay and cavities, but like any dental procedure, they do carry some risks. Here are some potential risks of dental sealants:
- Allergic reactions: Although rare, some patients may be allergic to the sealant material, which can cause an allergic reaction.
- BPA exposure: Some dental sealants contain bisphenol-A (BPA), which is a chemical that has been linked to health issues. However, the amount of BPA in dental sealants is generally considered safe.
- Sealant failure: In some cases, the sealant may fail to bond correctly to the tooth, allowing bacteria to grow and cause decay.
- Tooth sensitivity: Some patients may experience tooth sensitivity after getting sealants, which can cause discomfort when eating or drinking hot or cold foods.
Overall, the risks of dental sealants are considered low, and the benefits of preventing tooth decay and cavities far outweigh the potential risks. If you have any concerns about dental sealants or their risks, talk to your dentist to learn more.
Dental sealants can be removed by a dental professional. If, for any reason, you need to have your sealants removed, your dentist can do so quickly and easily.
Here are some reasons why you may need to have your dental sealants removed:
- Sealant deterioration: Over time, dental sealants can wear down, chip, or lose their effectiveness. If this happens, your dentist may need to replace the old sealant with a new one.
- Decay: In rare cases, decay can form underneath the sealant, and your dentist may need to remove the sealant to treat the decay.
- Cosmetic reasons: If you no longer want the sealant on your teeth or need to have dental work done that requires the removal of the sealant, your dentist can remove it.
Removing dental sealants is a quick and straightforward procedure that usually does not require any anesthesia. Your dentist will use a dental drill or other tools to remove the sealant and clean and polish the tooth.
After removing the sealant, Dr. Ferguson may recommend a new sealant to protect your teeth from decay.
At Black Point Dental in Honolulu, HI, we are committed to providing our patients with personalized preventative dental care, including sealants.
If you need a dental filling or would like to schedule a consultation with Dr. Ferguson, please call us at (808) 955-5922 or request an appointment online. Our team is here to help you maintain healthy and functional teeth.