Your teeth are coated with a sticky film of bacteria. Bacteria turns the sugar in what you eat and drink into acids that can break down the hard, outer layer of teeth, called enamel. Over time, the acid can weaken the enamel and may cause tooth decay, or a hole to form in the tooth’s enamel (cavity).
Highly effective in preventing decay on the biting surfaces of your chewing teeth, dental sealants are a simple procedure in which a tooth-colored acrylic “coating” is painted onto the surface of the tooth.
Dental sealants effectively “seals” the deep grooves, acting as a barrier and protecting enamel from plaque and acids. Your dentist may recommend dental sealants to keep decay from starting on these chewing surfaces in the pits and grooves.
It only takes a few minutes for your dentist to seal each tooth. These are steps your dentist may use to put sealants on your teeth.
- Your tooth is cleaned and the chewing surfaces are prepared to help the sealant materials stick to your tooth.
- The sealant is painted onto the chewing surface where it bonds to your tooth and hardens.
- A special light may be used to help the sealant harden
Sealants are smooth and you can’t feel them on your teeth. They are usually clear or white and cant been seen where you smile or talk.
Sealants usually last several years before they need to be replaces. Over time, sealants can come off, while means they may not protect the teeth as well. Chewing on ice or hard foods can also break down sealants. Research has shown that dental sealants are safe, and they are effective. The American Dental Association recommends that dental sealants are an important step you should take to lower your risk of tooth decay and cavities. If you have any questions, talk to your dentist.
You may benefit from sealants at any age.