Preventive dentistry considers how we can protect teeth before damage occurs. This can include steps such as education on regular brushing and flossing, fluoride additives, and protecting vulnerable areas with dental sealants. At Wilson Dentistry, we have included the application of dental sealants as part of our regular preventive dental options because of their effectiveness in reducing the incidence of caries. We invite you to learn more about this and other preventative steps to having a healthier smile.
Your oral health matters. Having healthy teeth has connections with overall health and mental wellness. Dental treatments and education is rapidly evolving and the more we learn, the more we see the connection of oral health and general health. Oral infections, including gum disease and caries or cavities, reduces your body’s ability to fight infections in other areas of the body and can put your health at risk. There are steps you can take to battle these infections, or prevent them from beginning, that we can help with. The application of dental sealants is a great option.
What Are Dental Sealants?
Dental sealants consist of a liquid varnish that we paint onto areas of enamel that we have determined are at a greater risk of infection. Our teeth, specifically our molars, are wonderfully designed to chew and break down food. Teeth come with peaks, valleys, and grooves to gnash and tear apart food. Unfortunately, some of these shapes can naturally have tiny areas and crevices that can have food or plaque get stuck making it difficult, if not impossible, to remove and clean. These are the spots that are most vulnerable to the development of infection-causing bacteria and cavities. During your dental cleaning, we can identify these areas of higher risk and discuss the application of dental sealants.
How Are Dental Sealants Applied?
If we spot areas that are deemed higher risk for decay or infection, we will discuss the option of sealants. The application of sealants is fast and painless. Typically, the option for sealants is discussed during your annual cleaning or dental exam. This is when notable areas of concern are noticed. Dental sealant treatment includes:
|Spotting areas of concern: An area of concern doesn’t necessarily mean an area where a cavity already exists, rather, it’s an area where the development of a cavity may be more likely. We look for spots in the enamel where the tooth shape is formed in such a way that debris can become easily trapped and difficult to remove. This may include areas where the enamel has a hangover, areas that may be too tight for the bristles of a toothbrush or floss to clean, or areas that can be easily missed when cleaning. We look for areas where there may already be debris stuck. We also consider the age and ability of the patient that we are examining, as some patients may have a more difficult time cleaning.
|Preparing the area: Before dental sealants are applied, the area needs to be thoroughly cleaned. We want to seal a clean tooth, not seal in bacteria. The tooth and surrounding area are cleaned and then an appropriate acid wash is applied. The acid wash is used to lightly roughen the enamel. This will allow for better adhesion of the sealant material.
|Placing the sealant: Dental sealants serve as a barrier, or wall, protecting the specific area of the tooth from bacteria making contact. We are essentially sealing the vulnerable portion of the tooth to prevent contact from food debris or plaque. The sealant varnish is painted on with a small brush and then dried with a blue light. Once dry, the varnish is strong and will remain in place even when chewing or drinking.
|Long lasting: Dental sealants are a strong material with a firm hold once hardened. They will remain on the tooth for many years. We will check the status of your sealant varnish with every future checkup appointment. Dental sealants can be reapplied as needed.
Good Candidates for Dental Sealants
Dental sealants are a wonderful tool in preventive care. They provide benefits to your oral health and can protect areas that are at greater risk over the long term. Sealants are safe and effective. They can be applied to any patient where a need is discovered. We generally recommend dental sealants to our patients who are:
|Adolescents: We recommend dental sealants to all of our young patients who have grown their adult molars but are still young enough that they are in the learning phase of proper dental hygiene. We understand that our adolescent patients may still be learning the proper techniques and routines to adequately care for their teeth. We can help protect their teeth while navigating this phase with dental sealants. Studies have shown a more than 80% reduction in the development of caries, or cavities, in adolescent patients with dental sealants. Increasingly, our young patients are reaching adulthood without ever developing a cavity which will help them have healthier teeth longer.
|Increased risk: There are people who are at an increased risk of developing infection due to the shape of their teeth, a physical disability, mental disability, medical disorder or more. We want to provide tools to help our patients navigate their oral health to the best of their ability. Dental sealants can protect vulnerable areas when the patient is unable to adequately care for their teeth for any reason.
Dental sealants can help our patients have better oral health. Our primary goal is to help our patients have a healthy smile. Infection, decay, and caries can impact your overall health and we can help you gain control. Dental sealants do not replace the need for daily brushing and flossing, but they can be a highly effective tool, serving as a barrier to protect areas at risk.
Schedule an Appointment for Dental Sealants in Katy, TX
If you are around Katy, TX and have questions about dental sealants, or would like more information, contact our Katy office at (346) 340-5440.