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Sealants are a very useful, beneficial tool that can be used to protect the tooth in a variety of different circumstances. While some sealants are placed only temporarily, others can be used as a permanent, protective measure.
Here is everything that you need to know about sealants – temporary or permanent.
Sealants are a thin, plastic coating that is placed over the teeth on the molars and pre-molars, which are the large teeth at the back of the mouth that are used primarily for chewing. Their chewing surfaces that are covered by grooves and pits, and these are ideal locations for bacteria and tiny particles of food to become trapped since they are hard to clean with a regular toothbrush. Unfortunately, this makes decay likely to occur in these small spaces. By covering the chewing surfaces with an ultra-fine layer of plastic, you can protect these teeth from the effects of decay.
As we know, molars and pre-molars have grooves and pits that make them more likely to trap food and bacteria that could develop into decay. Sometimes this decay is so extensive that a conventional filling isn’t a suitable solution for the problem. So much decay must be removed that the tooth can no longer support a filling. In these instances, we may recommend an inlay or an onlay. These are like extra-large fillings and while an inlay sits inside the four cusps of the tooth (the points on the edges), an onlay actually covers one or more of these cusps too. After the affected tooth has been prepared by removing the decay, it can be covered with a temporary sealant to protect it from harm while your custom-designed inlay or onlay is being prepared.
Sealants are most often associated as being to children to help protect their molars and pre-molars from decay as they get older. However, they can be just as successful in preventing bacteria and food from becoming trapped in adult teeth. Since sealants can be effective for a very long time, and in some cases might not ever need replacing, they can offer you considerable protection from decay in these teeth, making them a valuable investment in your dental health.
Both temporary and permanent sealants are applied in the same way. The steps involved are as follows:
Preparation of the tooth/teeth by giving them a professional clean and polish, followed by rinsing and drying. Your tooth must be completely dry before the process to apply the sealant can begin.
An acidic solution is applied to the tooth/teeth. There is no visible difference, but the solution actually creates surface roughness that makes it easier for the sealant to adhere to the tooth. This is left to dry.
The sealant comes in the form of a liquid and this is pasted on to the chewing surfaces of your teeth. This takes a few minutes to harden, although in some instances a curing light will be used to ‘set’ the sealant.
Your treatment is complete, and you can return to your normal day immediately afterward.
If you would like more information on the use of temporary or permanent sealants, or if you would like to find out if you are a suitable candidate for preventative sealant treatment, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our experienced dental team by visiting our offices in Bronxville, NY or calling 914-337-8433.