What Are Sealants?

Sealants consist of a slim tooth-coloured or clear plastic coating that dentists apply to chewing surfaces of teeth — most often the back molars. These areas are difficult to clean even when utilizing proper oral hygiene techniques, so the sealant bolsters the protection against tooth decay in that area. Sealants act as a barrier to insulate the teeth enamel from being vulnerable to incursions of bacteria.

Why Are Sealants Used?

The purpose of sealants is to literally seal off tooth enamel from potential sources of bacteria and decay. For the majority of the teeth, using good oral hygiene practices such as brushing twice per day and flossing daily are enough to keep tooth decay at bay. But in some areas of the mouth, specifically the back molars and premolars, there are too many little crevices and grooves where bacteria can collect and the floss and toothbrush cannot reach them.

Sealants prevent bacteria and food from entering into these areas, making them a useful tool in the fight against tooth decay. Our dentists often recommend that children in particular get sealants, though of course there are some adults who can also benefit from them as well. This is because children tend to have poor or inconsistent oral hygiene habits, especially between the ages of 6 and 14 years old. Putting sealants on a child’s teeth when their permanent premolars and molars first erupt is the best way to shield these new permanent teeth from becoming susceptible to decay and disease.

What Is the Process of Getting Sealants?

Once your Empress Walk Dental dentist makes a recommendation for you or your child to get sealants, you will schedule your appointment to come into our office.

At the appointment, the process of getting sealants is fairly simple and straightforward:

  • First, your teeth will undergo a thorough cleaning (also known as prophylaxis). This way, the bacteria and food materials are not sealed onto the tooth along with the plastic coating.
  • Next, the teeth will be dried and an absorbent material such as cotton will be placed around the teeth in order to make sure they remain dry during the procedure.
  • The dentist then covers the teeth that are getting the sealants with an acidic solution that helps the sealant bond with the tooth enamel.
  • After rinsing and drying the teeth again, it is time to apply the sealant, which is brushed onto the teeth as though it were paint.
  • In some cases, the sealant is hardened using a special type of light.

What is the Life of Sealants, and Can I Lengthen it?

With careful care, your sealants should last for several years. Your dentist will regularly monitor them for signs of wear and tear and will give you instructions for how to best care for them, including which foods to avoid. Some of these foods that can damage sealants include popcorn kernels, hard candies, and even ice (which, when chewed, can be quite harmful).

If you want to learn more about sealants or would like to schedule a consultation at one of our convenient Toronto or North York locations, call Empress Walk Dental today at 416-256-8000!

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5095 Yonge St, Unit A1, North York, ON M2N 6Z4

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