What Are Dental Sealants?
Good oral hygiene practice consists of brushing and flossing daily to prevent cavities. However, it is not always easy to clean the nooks and cranny of your back teeth called molars. The uneven surfaces of your molars are ideal spots for tiny food particle to become lodge. The trapped food particles promote bacteria to thrive, increasing the chance of developing cavities. To reduce food particle from sticking between these tiny nooks and cranny, effectively sealing these surfaces can prevent the teeth from developing cavities. A dental sealant is a thin resin coating applied to the surfaces of the premolars and molars. The dental sealant fills and bonds to the tiny nooks and grooves forming a protective surface. The protective coat reduces the buildup of food particles and plaque, thus preventing cavities.
Dental Sealant Types
Dental sealant materials can be categorized into two main types of resins based on how they set on the surface of your teeth. Sealants are usually applied on the tooth in liquid form and then cured chemically or with a dental light. The first type is called glass ionomers and the second is a composite resin. The glass ionomer sealant undergoes an acid-base reaction as it cures, while composite resins set by reacting to a dental curing light. Ionomer dental sealants have less shrinkage when set, are stiffer, have a high fluoride release, and a low tensile strength. In contrast, composite resin tends to shrink more when set, have a higher tensile strength, less fluoride release, and expands less when apply to the teeth. Sealants will often last for several years before needing to be reapplied.
Effectiveness of Preventing Cavities
According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, dental sealants applied to the molars in children and adolescents are effective in preventing cavities from forming. Dental sealants also reduce the progression of non-cavity lesions on the molar. Sealants are one of the most effective means to prevent cavity. Once apply, the tooth can be protected for up to 10 years, but need to be checked for wear during your regular dental checkup. Your dentist can replace the sealants if it becomes worn or cracks to keep your smile bright and healthy.
Schedule an appointment with California Dental Group at (800) 407-0161 to further discuss dental sealants and speak with your dentist.