Taking good care of your teeth and protecting them from getting decay and from cavities are not very hard to do if you have managed to establish proper home care for your oral health, follow proper diet and nutrition and if you maintain regular visits to your dentist. These are the core of good oral hygiene in order to stay on top of your oral health.
However, there are some people who are naturally at a higher risk of getting oral health problems like cavities and decay. These people can or may need additional help when it comes to protecting their teeth and increasing their resistance from the attack of the cavity causing bacteria. In dentistry, several methods and techniques can be used in order to do this, and one of them is by using dental sealants. Dental sealants are plastic coatings that are used to cover the chewing surfaces of your permanent teeth especially the ones in the back, in order to protect them from the bacteria that causes decay and cavities.
How are dental sealants helpful?
Proper brushing and flossing are ideal ways by which you can ensure your teeth and gums are clean all the time. However, there are times when you cannot be guaranteed that a thorough cleaning is done because your toothbrush cannot reach all the way to clean the pits and crevices of your teeth to remove plaque buildup. These are the areas where plaque forms and the bacteria from these plaque increases the production of acid in your mouth, and acid is not harmful for your tooth enamel. The acid can eat away your enamel and this are basically the reasons behind decay and cavities. In these cases, getting dental sealants applied on your teeth can help add protection especially in the grooved and pitted areas of your teeth.
How are dental sealants applied?
- Tooth cleaning – In order to make sure that the sealant bonds to the tooth properly, the dentist will have to clean the tooth. He will be placing a small brush in the dental drill and the drill will b spinning the brush to scrub and clean the surfaces of the tooth including its grooves and pits.
- Conditioning of the tooth surface – This is when the dentist will be spreading an etching gel over the area where the sealant will be applied right after the tooth is cleaned. As soon as the etching gel is applied, it will be left to sit on the tooth for about 20 to 60 seconds before it can be rinsed off. This step is an important part of the preparation of the tooth for the dental sealant.
- Evaluation of the etching step – After rinsing the etching gel off, your dentist will be evaluating your tooth and blow your tooth dry using an air gun. If the tooth is ready for the sealant, it should look white, frosty and dull. It is also important to keep the tooth dry and protect is from the contamination of saliva. If it gets contaminated, the etching process will have to be repeated. The dental sealant is more likely to stay in place if it can grasp to a roughened surface.
- The application of the sealant – The dentist can now proceed to the application of the sealant as soon as the tooth is ready. The sealant is in a form of a liquid plastic that is applied on the grooves of the tooth using a small brush or syringe while it is still dry. The dental sealant does not need to be applied all over the chewing surface of the tooth, but only on the parts or areas that can easily trap food particles and debris.
- Curing of the sealant – To set the liquid sealant properly, your dentist will be using a curing light. The curing light is a dental flashlight that produces a blue light. Before fixing the sealant into place, the dentist will make sure that it is already positioned properly.
- Evaluating the sealant – Once your dentist finishes curing the sealant and once it hardens, your tooth will be ready for use. Your dentist will be doing a final check to see if all the grooves of your tooth have been properly filled in. As soon as the sealant passes the evaluation, you can again use your tooth for normal eating, chewing and other functions.
For more information on dental sealants, you can call Norcross Dental Associates at (770) 334-9880, or visit us at 5448 Spalding Drive, Building 100, Suite A, Norcross, GA 30092.