Dental sealants are plastic covers that protect teeth' chewing surfaces from acid, especially molars and premolars. They intend to seal the narrow grooves found in back teeth to reduce the number of food particles and bacteria that settle into the fissures.
Sealants can significantly prevent cavities and related dental decay issues if applied before dental decay occurs.
Children and teenagers that have grown their molars are the ideal candidates for sealants since they are more prone to developing dental decay. They are ideally recommended between ages 6 to 14 or as soon as their (adult) chewing teeth come through.
Sealants protect their teeth' narrow grooves from acid and prevent cavities. The American Dental Association (ADA) explains that "children aged 6 to 11 years without sealants have almost three times more first molar cavities than children with sealants."
Dental sealants are not commonly used in adults since the tooth has been exposed to the oral microbiome for much longer. However, grooves can be drilled out and sealed to offer a protective cover.
Dental sealants are a fast procedure and completely painless. The process is as follows:
- The teeth that will be covered need to be isolated to avoid contaminants.
- If small cavities are detected, Dr. Sunistch will clean them with a dental laser, drill, and acid etch solution.
- Teeth are rinsed and dried.
- The sealant is painted over the teeth' surface.
- The sealant is cured with a special UV light to harden the material.
This entire process may sound complicated, but it takes less than ten minutes per tooth.
Dental sealants can last up to 10 years, depending on the care given. Visiting your dentist regularly to avoid chipping and replacing them as needed will also help to obtain optimal results.
Dr. Sunistch recommends the following to expand your dental sealants’ lifespan:
- Avoid an acidic diet
- Avoid sugary foods
- Brush and floss your teeth twice a day
- Use a soft toothbrush
- Avoid clenching and grinding your teeth
- Avoid sticky foods
Dental sealants are routine and do not pose significant risks to patients. However, if a proper examination is carried out after placing the sealants, food and bacteria could end up trapped underneath, leading to deterioration.
A dental professional should always place sealants. If misapplied, the tooth might need extensive fillings or nerve therapy. Dr. Sunistch will make sure to review and clean up all existing decay before the procedure.
Once dental sealants are placed, they aren’t usually removed unless your dentist suspects a fissure or any other need for replacement. It is a fast and painless procedure that takes only a few minutes. Dr. Sunistch will remove your sealants with a laser or dental drill and reseal your teeth if desired.
Pine Desert Dental offers dental sealants to adults and children to help patients maintain optimal oral health and prevent decay. Dr. Zach Sunitsch and the Pine Desert Dental team can handle all your dental needs.
He is an active member of the American Dental Association, the Oregon Dental Association, and the Academy of General Dentistry. We offer comprehensive dental services, including preventative dental care.
If you’d like a dental consultation for a fluoride treatment, call us at (541) 549-0109 or request an appointment online. You can also visit us at our clinic in Sisters, Oregon.