- Dental Health

Who Are Dental Sealants For?

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You may have heard of dental sealants, but you’re not sure what they are, how they work or who they benefit. You can only guess that they block out food particles, hence, acting as a seal, or barrier.

If this is what you thought sealants are, you’re correct. Dental sealants are clear, thin, flexible, resin barriers are applied over the back molars to keep food particles from getting dislodged between then or in crevices and indentations on the tooth surface.

Dental Sealants

Dental sealants can last up to 10 years and can be easily replaced when chips or excessive wear is evident. The sealant looks and feels like the natural tooth so they are comfortable to wear and are aesthetically pleasing. They can handle the same wear and tear as the teeth themselves. In many cases, patients don’t even notice the sealants.

The process for applying sealants involves a couple, though simple steps:

1. The teeth are thoroughly cleaned

2. Each tooth is thoroughly dried

3. The surface of the teeth are roughened using an acidic agent

4. The teeth are then rinsed and dried

5. The sealant is then painted onto the teeth and dried. A curing, UV light may be used to speed up the drying process

They are applied much like a composite resin crown where the “cement” is hardened and permanently affixed into place using a UV light.

Dental sealants provide an extra barrier to protect teeth from cavities and shouldn’t be used in place of brushing.

Who Would Best Benefit From Dental Sealants?

In almost every circumstance, dentists will recommend dental sealants for young patients, typically those between 5 and 7 years old. This is the age childrens’ permanent molars erupt. Putting sealants on before this before the baby molars fall out will mean that the sealants will need to be reapplied later.

It is also during this time that children begin brushing their own teeth for the first time, meaning proper brushing techniques are often not followed or closely monitored. Their lack of coordination, focus and attention makes them less likely to practice proper oral hygiene procedures. Children often dread brushing their teeth and are impatient. They often don’t brush long or as frequently enough, use the wrong brushing and flossing techniques or simply ignore to do any dental hygiene at all.

On top of insufficient or improper dental hygiene, children tend to have a sweet tooth, preferring sugary foods and drinks over healthy ones. The excessive sugar and simple carbs that decay and produce tooth enamel eating acid that lead to tooth decay.

Tooth decay, most commonly referred to as cavities, is among the most prevalent and preventable health issues among children. Kids are either not taught proper dental hygiene techniques or they are not taught the importance of taking care of their teeth and gums.

Dental sealants help give children extra help in protecting their teeth and gums.

Teenagers and adults who have had no decay or fillings are also candidates for dental sealants.

While dental sealants aid patients who have a hard time adequately brushing, they are not normally recommended to seniors. This is in large part due to the fact that many seniors are missing their molars or their molars are too fragile to accommodate the resin of the sealants.

Dental sealants are great for keeping your child’s teeth protected from cavities and plaque build-up. Proper, regular, dental hygiene should, however, be done.

If you’re interested in getting sealants for your child or teenager, or to see if he or she is a candidate, contact your dentist to schedule an appointment.

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Source by Anna Bird

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