Prevention is better than cure! Preventing the onset of dental problems is crucial and goes a long way in safeguarding the integrity of your oral cavity. There have been several dental procedures evolved over the past decades such as dental sealants. These are beneficial for people of all age groups, especially children who are the most susceptible to dental problems.
Thornton Family Dentistry strives to prevent tooth decay and arrest the progression through dental sealants.
An introduction to dental sealants
Sealants are defined as thin, transparent varnish that is applied on the occlusal surfaces of the posterior teeth, namely the premolars and the molars. The sealants are in a liquid form which when applied can effectively settle into the deep pits and grooves of the teeth, sealing them completely. This prevents plaque and bacterial adhesion by forming protective coatings that shield your teeth from harmful disease-causing bacteria.
Dental sealants are made up of different materials like resin (plant or synthetic) or glass ionomers (a mixture of glass powder and water-soluble acid)
The indications for placing dental sealants are as follows:
- Pits and fissures of deciduous teeth in children
- People with an increased risk of caries
- Pits and fissures of permanent teeth in children and adolescents
- Pits and grooves of permanent teeth in adults
- Incipient caries lesions in children, adolescents, and adults
- Teeth that are not accessible to regular brushing and flossing
Application of sealants
The process of applying sealants is explained below:
- Tooth isolation
- This involves moisture control which is a crucial aspect of sealant application.
- Inadequate isolation leads to compromise in sealant retention.
- A rubber dam, cotton rolls, suction, and evacuation tips are used.
- Acid etching
- 37% orthophosphoric acid is used in the form of a gel.
- The gel is applied and cured with a suitable curing light for 15 for permanent molars, and 15 to 30 seconds for primary/deciduous molars.
- The tooth surface is then rinsed with water and air-dried to achieve a frosty opaque appearance.
- Sealant placement and curing
- Sealant is applied using a dispenser and allowed to flow into the pits and fissures.
Benefits of dental sealants
Dental sealants offer several benefits. They:
- Are aesthetically superior
- Are cost-effective
- Can be used for both children and adults
- Involve a simple and painless procedure
- Are less time-consuming
Dental sealant application can be used as a part of primary prevention (to prevent the onset), or as a secondary prevention (to halt the progression). These are effective shields used against pit and fissure caries which is the most prevalent problem among all dental specialties (preventive, public health, restorative, or pediatric dentistry).