Dental sealants are the strong plastic coatings that your dentist will apply to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth where the pits and fissures form. Sealants act as a barrier and protect the teeth from bacterial plaque that causes decay. In this article, we will discuss all about dental sealants.
Why are these dental sealants used?
Sealants occupy the pits and fissures of the teeth with a resin material. As these pits and fissures are filled, bacteria in the plaque will not be able to attack the teeth. With pits and fissure sealants, there are less chances of developing tooth decay when compared to those without sealants. Moreover, teeth with sealants are easier to clean, as food particles do not get trapped in the fissures.
Types of fissure sealants
Choosing the type of the sealant depends on one’s personal preference. However, colored sealants are more obvious in person who has already a sealant. The more obvious the sealant is, the easier it is to see whether they need replacement.
Two types of resin based sealants are available – filled and unfilled. The fillers’ purpose is to increase the bonding strength and also resistance to wear and abrasion. As filled sealants are hard and wear resistant, it should be checked after placement and if required, should be adjusted with the hand piece (dental instrument) and appropriate bur (a cutter used in hand piece).
Unfilled sealants have a higher ratio of resin in the filler material and does not require to be adjusted with a hand piece or any other instrument. They are self occluding. Unfilled sealants flow in to pit and fissures readily.
Maintenance and home care
Once the sealants are placed, your child can resume to his/her normal activity. Special care is not required for maintaining dental sealants. Good oral hygiene should be practiced with brushing and flossing.
Switch on to the diet that is low in sugar and starch. You need to visit the dentist regularly as there is a possibility of the sealant popping out. Your dentist will check the sealant and if required will replace it.
It is recommended to continue your dental visits regularly, as there is still chances of developing tooth decay under or around the sealant.
Benefits for applying dental sealants
- If properly applied, dental sealants can be very effective in preventing tooth decay.
- Even an early tooth decay will be stopped from growing more deep, as decay causing bacteria are unable to survive when they are cut off from the food supply.
- Sealants are safe for using on anyone’s teeth: children as well as adults.
- If placed properly, sealants will last as long as the typical amalgam filling.
- Lastly, applying dental sealants in advance as a preventive measure will save you from spending thousands later.