At Brighton Dental in San Diego, we use dental sealants to limit the amount of work we have to do on your teeth in the future. That’s right: sealants mean fewer cavities and less dental problems over the long term. While that may mean less work for us, it means you have the potential for healthier, better-looking teeth throughout your life, and preserving as much natural tooth as possible is a goal of any dentist.
A sealant is a very simple thing. It’s a thin plastic coating that we apply on the chewing surface of a molar and to pits, fissures and other deep grooves of premolars. Astoundingly, as much as 75 percent of tooth decay involved these imperfections. But teeth with grooves are hard to clean effectively. The sealant, however, can close off hard-to-clean areas, smoothing out the tooth surface so it’s easier for you and for us to keep clean.
When Sealants Are Effective
Applying a sealant to your teeth or your child’s can provide protection from decay for years – as long as you get regular dental checkup for chipping and wear. But not everyone is a candidate for sealants, and they work best when applied in the right circumstances.
For babies: A sealing product can be applied to baby teeth deemed to be cavity-prone because of depressions and deep grooves. While this isn’t always practical or necessary, Dr. Woods can help you decide if this is a good idea for your baby or young child.
For teens and children: A sealant can be applied as soon as six-year molars have come through. These are the first of the permanent back teeth that can be helped by sealants. Children ages 6 to 16 may be the best candidates for a sealant, so be sure to ask us about how sealants can help if you have children in this age range.
For adults: A sealant only works on teeth without previous dental work, and the product can only be applied to teeth that don’t have any decay in the deep grooves or depressions. Some adults don’t have these kinds of hard-to-clean features and may not need a sealant.
How Dental Sealants Are Applied
The process of applying a sealant is very easy and takes only a minute – or maybe two – for each tooth. The hygienist or Dr. Woods can do this for you. First, the teeth to be sealed are cleaned carefully, then cotton is placed around the area to make sure it stays dry. A bonding solution is applied to the enamel to make sure the sealant will stick. The product is then painted onto the enamel very carefully and skillfully for maximum benefit.
There are several kinds of sealants, and the product may harden by itself once applied or may harden only after a special light is applied. The sealant is permanent, and Dr. Woods will check at regular dental visits to make sure it isn’t damaged and to ensure its effectiveness in preventing cavities.
Dental sealants are just one tool that Dr. Woods and our team at Brighton Dental in San Diego can use to ensure your dental health now and into the future. Contact us right away to learn more about how our preventative services can make it possible for you to retain your natural teeth for as much of your life as possible.
We’re not trying to put ourselves out of business by sealing teeth and preventing cavities. But dental sealants mean that some kind of cavities are now preventable. To learn more about these products, see the Sealants page of this website – or contact us for an appointment to learn if sealants can help you.