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Dental Sealants

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What are dental sealants?

Dental sealants (sometimes called “pit and fissure sealants”) are a means of covering the small crevices and fissures in teeth so that those places are less able to accumulate food and become sites for bacteria that will eventually cause dental caries (cavities). Sealants are a preventative measure, applied to teeth that in the future might otherwise need restorative work such as fillings.

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Why would I use dental sealants?

Dental sealants are intended to provide additional protection against cavity formation, to supplement the general practice of good oral hygiene. Sealants are not meant as a substitute for proper selection of foods, use of dental floss, and regular brushing. Sealants protect a limited portion of the tooth only; that part to where the sealant has been applied. Other vulnerable areas such as regions between the teeth and along the gum lines still need cleaning with the usual methods.

Who are the best candidates for dental sealing?

Dental sealants are most often provided to children and young adults, and are applied after the appearance of adult molars. Older people can also benefit if their teeth are free of fillings and cavities.

Tooth sealants are most effective as a preventative measure when the risk of cavities resulting from food retention in grooves or fissures in the teeth is the greatest. Not all people’s teeth are the same in this regard however; for some, dental sealants will make a greater difference than for others.

What are the limitations of sealants?

Sealants don’t last forever. They can last up to ten years with good dental care, although stresses can shorten that time.

Sealant materials

Sealant materials have evolved greatly since they were first developed, and today strong, long-lasting sealants are the norm. Sealants are of two sorts, resin and glass ionomer.

Resin sealants

The newest resin based sealants are either chemical cured or visible light cured, and can contain flouride as an additional cavity preventative. The transient presence of bisphenol A (BPA) in resins has led to concern about resin use. In our office we use sealant ToothFairy Septodont. This sealant BPA-free Pit and Fissure Sealant is not manufactured with Bisphenol A (BPA) as a component ingidient. BPA-Free Pit and Fissure Sealant

Glass ionomer sealants

Glass ionomer sealants are strong-bonding and moisture resistant. Some also may be fluoridated.

Sealant installation

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Dental sealants are applied in steps:
1) the sealant colour is matched to the tooth
2) the area to be sealed is cleaned and dried
3) any fissures to be sealed are prepared with an etching fluid
4) the area is cleaned of etching fluid and again dried
5) the sealant is applied
6) the sealant is cured
7) any additional sealing and filling is done
8) the seal is polished

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Should I Consider Dental Sealants?

Your decision on whether dental sealants are for you depends on several factors: cost, age, and personal dentition. Dental sealants are an optional expense that may be covered in your dental plan, but if not, you will probably be paying out of pocket for the work. In the long run, it can be argued that sealants will prevent or reduce dental work that might in turn be covered, but plans often unfortunately don’t reward preventative or proactive dental practices.

A dentist can evaluate the characteristics of your teeth and determine whether dental sealants are suitable.

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