Sealant for teeth: a preventive treatment against cavities

Sealant for teeth

Despite having a good daily brushing and using dental floss, on many occasions, there are small particles that remain lodged in our teeth, especially in our teeth. And this accumulation of bacteria poses a high risk of suffering from dental caries. Sealant for teeth is a preventive treatment that can help prevent the formation of carious lesions, especially in people at high risk of suffering from them -such as children-.

But what exactly does it consist of, and in what cases is its placement indicated?

What is a sealant for teeth?

A sealant is a thin layer of dental resin that adheres to the surface of teeth.

Its use is restricted to later pieces. That is to say, generally, the molars and premolars are always placed on the masticatory surfaces of the same.

And it is that these posterior pieces meet two conditions that make them more prone to dental caries:

  • On the one hand, its rough surface is full of fissures, making it easier for bacterial plaque to accumulate.
  • On the other, it is more difficult to reach them to perform proper oral hygiene.

Sealant for teeth is inserted into these small cavities in the tooth. Its function is to form, in this way, a protective shield against the harmful action of the accumulations of bacterial plaque in the dental enamel.

In which cases are sealant for teeth placed?

This preventive treatment is aimed at people who are at high risk of suffering from dental caries. Therefore, children and adolescents are ideal candidates for placement.

However, they can also be used in adults who do not present previous carious lesions.

Sealant for teeth can be used from 3 or 4 years of age to protect temporary molars from caries. These are especially common in milk teeth with deep grooves.

And achieving the stability of the temporary pieces is vital when it comes to ensuring the correct eruption of the definitive pieces.

But in addition, the placement of sealants is common in children and adolescents who have already seen their permanent molars and premolars erupt and are at risk of dental caries. That is, those with ages between 6 and 14 years.

When is its use contraindicated?

Sealant for teeth are used on the masticatory-working – surfaces of the posterior teeth -molars and premolars-. However, its placement is not indicated in the interdental spaces.

To eliminate the accumulation of bacteria in these areas, we must resort to the traditional use of dental floss or, failing that, the oral irrigator.

Parents must accompany their children during this process, assisting them when incorporating these elements of oral hygiene into their daily activities.

But in addition, it must be considered that sealants are a preventive treatment. Therefore, its placement is not indicated if caries are already in the dental piece.

What are the benefits of teeth sealing?

Therefore, sealant for teeth act as a barrier against the accumulation of bacterial plaque.

Its placement protects the most vulnerable areas from the action of the bacteria that accumulate in the mouth. In this way, they manage to prevent the formation of carious lesions and improve dental stability.

In addition, they avoid more invasive procedures such as fillings -or fillings- or, in the case of more advanced carious lesions, pulpotomies or root canal treatments -endodontics-.

To understand these benefits in statistical data, various studies have confirmed that its placement reduces caries in more than 85% of cases during the first year.

How is a sealant for teeth placed?

The first step when determining the placement of a sealant for teeth is to carry out a previous study of the patient’s mouth.

In this way, it will be determined if it presents a high risk of suffering caries and if this preventive treatment is necessary.

If the dentist considers it so, you should not worry: this is a dental process with no complications.

The procedure carried out by dentists when placing a sealant for teeth is simple and completely painless. In addition, it will only last a few minutes, and the application of anesthesia is not necessary.

Next, we describe the process step by step:

  • The first step will be to perform correct hygiene of the piece on which the sealant for teeth will be placed to eliminate all the bacteria accumulated on its surface.
  • Subsequently, the piece is dried and kept isolated from possible humidity with cotton or other absorbent material.
  • An acid solution is positioned on the chewing surface to become rougher and better support the adhesion of the sealing material to the tooth.
  • The dental pieces are cleaned and dried again, and finally, the sealant is applied to the enamel. This material hardens and sticks to the surface of the tooth. Sometimes a cold light lamp is used to speed up this adhesion process.

Disadvantages of dental sealing

At first glance, we cannot say that sealants do not have any disadvantages. It is, more, quite the opposite.

They are simple and innocuous procedures and are very beneficial when preventing the formation of dental caries.

However, they indeed require some maintenance. After that, it will be the dentist who verifies their correct condition.

If, in a check-up, the dentist determines that it is necessary to replace a sealant, it will be enough to apply it for the first time.

We hope we have resolved all your doubts regarding sealant for teeth, their function and the problems they prevent.

At Virginia Dental Care, we have a large team of experts specializing in pediatric and Conservative Dentistry.