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At Aurora Dental Care, we strive to prevent oral health problems before serious consequences arise. Our preventive services extend to every member of the family, especially children. Preventing tooth decay can establish a strong foundation of oral health that will follow them into adulthood. We offer dental sealants to help protect certain teeth from disease and decay. Sealants are a plastic coating that is placed on the occlusal (chewing) surface of the posterior teeth, or molars and premolars.
Why We Recommend Dental Sealants
The occlusal surfaces of the posterior teeth have deep grooves, or “fissures,” that often trap food debris and bacteria. The grooves make these teeth much more vulnerable to decay because they are harder to clean. In fact, some grooves can be so narrow that even the bristle of a toothbrush cannot reach certain areas.
Children especially have a hard time cleaning these teeth. A sealant protects the grooved and pitted areas from the acidic bacteria that cause cavities. Sealants also provide a smooth surface that is easier to keep clean.
When Are Dental Sealants Placed?
We typically recommend sealants after the permanent molars and premolars have fully erupted. The sooner we provide protection for these teeth, the less likely your child is of developing decay. The molars and premolars continue to erupt between the ages of eleven and thirteen. However, we can place a sealant at an earlier age once the occlusal surface is visible.
Although it is less common, adults may also receive dental sealants. We may recommend sealants for adults who are at greater risk for developing tooth decay. We may also recommend sealants for primary (baby) teeth if your child is at greater risk. Losing a primary tooth prematurely can cause future complications with their permanent teeth.
Dental Sealant Procedure
The sealant process is simple and painless. In fact, it only takes a few minutes for Dr. Methven to apply a sealant to each tooth. During the procedure, the teeth are thoroughly cleaned and dried. Next, we apply an acid solution to the occlusal surfaces. The solution will make the enamel more abrasive, which promotes a stronger bond between the tooth and sealant. After the tooth is rinsed and dried again, we will paint the sealant onto the enamel. The sealant will harden and bond directly to the tooth. In some cases, we may use a special curing light to expedite the process. Once hard, the sealant acts as a plastic varnish coating that can support a strong bite force.
Caring for a Sealant
Dental sealants have a proven track record. Since the 1970s, studies have shown that sealants are a durable and effective form of protection. In fact, a sealant can protect a tooth for up to 10 years. However, sealants are no substitute for regular dental care. They should also be checked for chips and other wear. If necessary, we may recommend a replacement sealant.
Schedule an Appointment
If you would like to learn more about dental sealants, call 907-376-8400 to schedule an appointment.