Our molars have natural grooves that help us grind food when chewing. Bacteria that live in the mouth and food particles can get trapped in these pits and fissures, causing teeth decay. Dental sealants are clear plastic coating painted on the chewing surfaces of teeth to prevent tooth decay for years. They prevent food particles and bacteria from reaching into the grooves of teeth where they cannot be removed by brushing or flossing.
Your bite can feel abnormal after the application of a sealant because of the extra layer on the tooth. However, after a few days, the odd feeling will go away.
Teeth may hurt after a sealant has chipped and decay sets in. Bacteria infect the pulp and cause pain in the tooth. It is important to have your sealant applied by an experienced dentist who knows the factors of sealant retention. In addition, you must continue with routine oral care and visit the dentist regularly for dental exams to prevent a sealant from harboring a cavity.
Dental sealants are recommended for everyone who needs to protect their back teeth from cavities. People with enamel defects, poor oral hygiene, deep grooves on the teeth, and a history of dental cavities need sealants.
Babies whose primary teeth have deep grooves that are hard to clean can have sealants applied to their teeth to protect them. Losing their baby teeth too early will affect the development of permanent teeth.
Children are prone to cavities through the ages of 6-14. At around ages 6-7, they have their first molar come in and their second molar at about 12 years. They may not always brush their teeth properly and are prone to cavities. The sealants should be applied to these permanent teeth as soon as the teeth erupt to prevent decay from setting in.
Cavity-prone adults can have sealants painted on their teeth after decay treatment. The tooth to be sealed must not have a restoration or implant because it will not benefit from the treatment. If a tooth with undetected decay is sealed, the decay may worsen, even leading to tooth extraction. Since the dental sealant is clear, our dentist at Plaza Family Dental will continue to check for decay at every routine dental exam.
Yes, sealants are safe on teeth. People think that sealants are unsafe since they are made from plastic and may contain trace amounts of bisphenol A (BPA). Dental products rarely contain this chemical, but the ingredients in the materials may contain some compounds that turn into BPA on contact with saliva. The compounds can be removed by scrubbing and rinsing the mouth after treatment. The amounts of bisphenol A found in some dental sealants are very little and not harmful. You are exposed to larger amounts of this compound in your daily activities than from sealants. Discuss your concerns with the dentist.