February 24,

Sealants

Sealants

What are sealants?

Sealants are thin, plastic coatings which are painted on the chewing surfaces of the back teeth.

Sealants are applied in dental offices and clinics, and even sometimes in schools. Putting sealants on teeth is simple and painless: they are painted on as a liquid and quickly hardened with a special light to form a protective shield over the tooth.

Why should I get sealants?

The most important reason for getting sealants is to avoid tooth decay.

Sealants cover the chewing surfaces of the back teeth and keep out germs and food. Fluoride in toothpaste, and in Peterborough City drinking water protects the smooth surfaces of teeth but back teeth need extra protection.

Having sealants applied to teeth helps avoid decay and also saves discomfort, time, and money in the long run by avoiding fillings and crowns used to fix decayed teeth.

What causes tooth decay?

Germs in the mouth use the sugar in food to make acids. Over time, the acids can form a cavity (decay). The top surfaces of back teeth are rough and uneven because they have small pits and fissures (small ridges) to help us chew our food. Food and germs can get stuck in these pits and fissures, and if the tooth is not cleaned completely and regularly – can cause the tooth surface to decay.

Who should get sealants?

Children should get sealants on their permanent molars to protect their teeth from dental decay. The first permanent molars come in between the ages of 5 and 7.

The second permanent molars come in when a child is between 11 and 14 years old.

Teenagers and young adults who are prone to decay may also benefit from sealants.

How long do dental sealants last?

Most sealants last for several years under the normal wear and tear of chewing. However, certain behaviours, like chewing ice, may cause sealants to wear down more quickly. Your dental hygienist or dentist will look at sealants as part of normal check ups and will repair the protective coating
as needed.

Besides sealants, are there ways to prevent tooth decay?

Yes. Using fluoride toothpaste and drinking fluoridated water can help protect teeth from decay.

If your water is not fluoridated, or if your children’s teeth need more fluoride to stay healthy, please speak to your dentist or health care provider.

Sealants and fluoride together can prevent almost all tooth decay.

 

Last modified on Feb 09, 2017