A dental sealant is a thin, clear or white coating of plastic which is applied into the grooves and pits of the back teeth to protect them from cavities and decay.Sealants are mostly applied to the chewing surface of a tooth, but they can also extend up to the tongue and cheek side of a tooth.
Pits and fissures form only 15% of the total surface area of a tooth. Yet, it has been estimated that 80% of tooth decay in children occurs in the pits and fissures of the teeth. By protecting these surfaces with a dental sealant, the risk of cavities in children can be substantially decreased. The placement of sealants is a simple and cost-effective way to avoid the need for expensive treatments needed to treat damaged and decayed teeth.
Sealants are considered a preventive measure, not a corrective one. They are placed on the teeth before any sign of a cavity has had a chance to form. Because of this reason, it's a good idea to have a tooth sealed as soon as is reasonably convenient once it has been identified as a candidate for decay and cavities.
The application of dental sealants is a quick and painless process which takes only a few minutes for each tooth. The steps of applying sealants to a tooth are outlined below:
- The teeth to which sealants are to be applied are thoroughly cleaned.
- Each tooth is then dried, and cotton or any other absorbent material is put around the tooth to prevent dampening of the tooth due to saliva.
- An acid solution is applied on the surface of the teeth to roughen them and allow the sealant to bond well.
- The teeth are rinsed and dried.
- The sealant is painted onto the enamel of the tooth, where it bonds directly to the tooth and hardens.
- A special curing light is used to harden the sealant.
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