Outside of the regular routine check-ups, At Procopio Towle Dental Practice we offer a wide range of treatments and procedures for our patients. A particularly popular and common treatment we provide, especially amongst children, are dental sealants.
All About Dental Sealants
Dental sealants are a preventative treatment applied to premolars and molars with deep crevices to protect against the development of decay. Deep pits and fissures are the source of over 80% of tooth cavities, which is primarily due to food and bacterial plaque lodged in between tight crevices on your teeth that are often inaccessible with brush bristles. Subsequently, plaque acids and enzymes at the base of these grooves cause the tooth enamel to dissolve, eventually rendering cavities in your mouth.
Over the years, many attempts to stop pit and fissure tooth decay have been made…
Fistulotomy (prophylactic odontology) is a particular procedure that aims to prevent the onset of tooth decay. This treatment involves funneling the grooves open with a cone-shaped dental tool. If done early enough on a groove that does not extend through the dentin layer, it may be possible to perform just this type of dental procedure. However, more often than not, the deepest pits and fissures do often extend beyond the dentin layer and this procedure must be followed by placement of a filling of some type.
The grooves can also be cleaned out less invasively with a micro abrasion handpiece, which sprays a stream of abrasive particles deep into the seams of the pits and fissures to remove plague bacteria and roughen the enamel surface. Although, as micro abrasion preparation doesn’t completely eliminate plaque in the deep narrow crevices, it is usually followed by placement of a dental sealant.
How are Dental Sealants applied
Applying dental sealants is a fairly simple and painless process. It only takes a few minutes for our dentist or hygienists to apply the sealant to seal each tooth. The application steps are as follows:
- Firstly, the affected tooth that requires a dental filling is cleaned thoroughly prior to manipulation
- The tooth is then isolated from all mouth moisture and the grooves are etched with a mild acid solution. This produces a microscopically roughened surface into which the sealant will adhere.
- The teeth are then rinsed and dried
- The sealant is then applied to the gloves as a viscous liquid, which hardens on its own or by exposure to a blue light.
- Once placed, the sealant prevents bulk plaque from being able to accumulate in the pits and fissures.
Benefits of Dental Sealants
There are many benefits to sealant treatment. Most often sealants are used in children, but adults with decay can benefit from sealants as well. Overall;
- Sealants protect the grooves of the teeth from food particles.
- Sealants are easy to apply and are a quick treatment
- The protection of teeth begins immediately after application.
- Sealants can last several years before a reapplication is needed.
- Sealants are more affordable and are a proactive way to help prevent cavities.
- Sealants are white or clear in color, making them virtually invisible when talking, smiling or eating.
- Sealants are suitable for children too
Side Effects of Dental Sealants
Sealants have some potential downsides. It is possible for micro leakage to occur along with the sealant – especially if moisture is present when the sealant is placed. If leakage does occur, it may be difficult to detect until a large cavity develops beneath the sealant.
It’s important that patients are reminded that sealed teeth are not completely resistant to tooth decay. It’s a big mistake to relax nutrition and oral hygiene standards on the belief that sealants alone will prevent cavities. Remember to see a dentist regularly to have the sealants evaluated for signs of failure. Left alone, a poorly contoured failing sealant is at least as prone to decay as an unsealed tooth.
At Procopio Towle Dental Practice, our dentists are professionally skilled in performing a variety of dental filling and sealant services. Cosmetic dentistry is very personal and individualized for each patient. We understand that the appearance of your smile can have a dramatic impact on your confidence, image, overall appearance, relationships, and human interactions.