Dental fissure sealants are a popular product in dental surgeries nowadays. And, if your dentist has mentioned them or recommended them to you, you’re probably wanting to find out more about what they are and how they work.
What are dental fissure sealants?
Dental sealants prevent cavities from forming in pits and fissures of molar teeth, at the back of the mouth. This uneven surface is completely natural and is there to provide the extra biting force. However, problems occur when food becomes trapped, and can’t be removed even by thorough brushing. Then, the little nooks and crannies become breeding ground for bacteria – and for trouble! Tooth decay and gum disease can follow afterward. What dental sealant does is fill these holes so that food, bacteria, and decay can’t settle at all. The sealant can be used on baby and adult teeth, and when applied properly, it should last up to 10 years.
How is it applied?
Dental sealants take the form of a liquid resin which is simply painted onto teeth. Your pediatric dentist has to make sure the tooth surface is clean and dry and free from food particles or anything else that shouldn’t be there. They’ll first use a paste to clean the tooth, then rinse. An acidic solution will be applied briefly, to roughen the tooth surface and give the sealant a surface to adhere to. Once the sealant is applied, a special light might be used to help harden it quickly. All in all, it’s no more than a few minutes. And, don’t worry – it is painless! The end product is a hard, plastic covering for your back teeth that is pretty much invisible. You may need to wait a little while before eating, but for the most part children and adults can go straight back to their normal routine afterward. The process is available at dental surgeries like the Pediatric Dentistry Center in Dubai, and nowadays it’s often a standard part of kids’ dental care.
Who can have sealants?
Sealants aren’t suitable for everyone – just for those who are at more risk of tooth decay than normal. Firstly they’re ideal for children, for whom a thorough dental routine is often a battle. For children, the sealant is usually applied by the pediatric dentist on the first permanent molar teeth that come through, after they have fully emerged. As teeth will continue to come through for many years after that, the sealant can be used again on other teeth at later dental appointments. Sealants can also be beneficial for adults who have good dental hygiene but are still prone to cavities, or adults who have very deep tooth fissures that could easily become a problem.
Do they need to be removed?
No – the sealants will naturally wear away over time (they are BPA-free). They will, however, need to be checked by your dentist when you or your child go for your six-monthly check-up, just to be sure the sealants are doing their job and haven’t worn away prematurely or become chipped (in which case their protective abilities might become compromised). So, if you change the dentist, be sure to share your dental history each time.
Do they work?
Studies have shown that sealants, in conjunction with a good dental hygiene routine, can do a good job of helping keep tooth decay at bay in children. While there’s no substitute for brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, sealants can help protect that hard-to-reach or neglected areas at the back until children are old enough to understand the benefits of brushing their teeth thoroughly by themselves. However – you still need to make sure that twice-daily brushing is taking place in the meantime!