Normal pits and grooves on the chewing surfaces of back teeth can trap food that can't be removed by brushing or washed out by water or saliva. Protective sealants are tough, the plastic material designed to bond (stick) to tooth enamel. These clear or tooth-colored sealants are painted onto the tooth surface to "seal" the pits and grooves and protect against decay. They are generally applied to children's first permanent back teeth. They can also be useful for adults in certain situations.
Protective Sealants Benefits
- Protect normal pits and grooves on the chewing surface of back teeth
- Stop small amounts of decay from growing larger
Sealants are an excellent way to protect chewing surfaces of teeth from decay. They are also a much better financial investment than treating decay after it has started.
Disadvantages of Protective Sealants
Sealants are not permanent. They generally last about five years with normal wear, but can wear off or chip off earlier in certain instances. Also, sealants do not prevent decay between teeth or the onset of gum disease, so regular home care and dental visits are important.
Alternatives to Protective Sealants
There are no appropriate alternatives to sealants. If a tooth has decayed, it will need a filling or other restoration.
Do Sealants Damage Teeth?
Sealant is designed to protect the teeth. It can, however, seal in decay and acids when the teeth are not properly prepared. This makes who you choose for dental care an important part of your outcomes.
When selecting a dentist to place sealant, choose a family dentist with sufficient experience to help guard against complications.
Can You Brush Your Teeth After Sealants?
Yes, you can absolutely brush your teeth after getting sealant. It is important, however, that you avoid things that can weaken your sealants such as ice, hard candy, gummy candies, taffy, caramels, sticky candy, popcorn, gum, and certain other foods that can scratch or otherwise damage the sealant.
How Long Does it Take for Dental Sealants to Dry?
Dental sealant takes around one minute to dry with a curing light. Prior to being cured, the resin used for the sealant will remain in its liquid form, allowing your dentist to ensure the most effective application.
How Long Does Dental Sealant Last?
With proper care, a dental sealant can last around five years. Often placed on children’s baby teeth to prevent decay while oral hygiene habits are being strengthened, many patients only need to have a sealant placed one time.
Sealant is uncommon for adults. There are better alternatives, such as dental bonding, veneers, and crowns that serve similar purposes but last significantly longer. We will provide you with information about all of your options during your initial consultation.
How do You Take Care of Dental Sealants?
Similar to other resin dental restorations, the sealant is strong, durable, and resistant to staining. However, it can become scratched or otherwise damaged when not cared for properly. Fortunately, caring for sealant is not difficult.
Make sure to use a soft-bristled toothbrush. This will help prevent removing the sealant. Avoid abrasive toothpaste, which may also prematurely remove the sealant. Be sure to brush after every meal and to floss at least once daily to keep your sealant and your natural teeth strong and healthy.
If your child has sealant, supervise her or his brushing routine to help ensure they are taking proper care of their teeth
Are Dental Sealants Covered by Insurance?
If considered necessary and if covered under your policy, a dental sealant can be paid for through insurance. Not all insurance policies cover dental sealants. The only way to know for sure is to check with your plan administrator.