Dental Sealants Offer an Added Layer of Protection for Teeth
At Astoria Dental Group, we use preventive dentistry to help our patients and their families achieve healthy smiles. By turning to Dr. Clifford Degel or Dr. Carmen Every-Degel for sealants at their office in Queens, we can create a foundation for a lifetime of oral health. To find out more about the benefits of dental sealants, reach out to Astoria Dental Group today.
Basics of Sealants
Sealants are thin, discreet plastic shields placed onto the chewing surfaces of teeth to help prevent decay. These protective barriers are typically applied to back teeth (pre-molars and molars), which have grooves. Commonly referred to as pits and fissures, these grooves are often too deep to reach with the bristles of a toothbrush, leading to situations where bacteria can easily collect and grow. As a result, back teeth can often be much more susceptible to plaque buildup, particularly in children. By acting as a barrier for these vulnerable sites, sealants help to prevent decay and other oral health concerns. The plastic shields are strong enough to withstand the forces of chewing, and with proper care, they can last up to 10 years.
Pit and fissure decay can begin early in life, so sealants are often recommended as soon as baby or adult teeth fully emerge. Children and teenagers ages six to 14 are the most common candidates for the procedure, and infants with particularly deep grooves in their developing teeth may also benefit from early protection. Furthermore, the advantages offered by sealants can be beneficial for adult patients as well.
Placing a Sealant
Receiving a sealant is a simple procedure, usually lasting no more than a few minutes per tooth. To begin, we will first thoroughly clean and dry your tooth. Next, we will use a mild acidic solution to create an ideal bonding surface for the sealant material. After the solution is rinsed away and the site is fully dried, the special sealant material will be gently painted onto the tooth, where it bonds and hardens quickly. Once fully dried, sealants are virtually indistinguishable from natural tooth enamel.
After the Procedure
Sealants can take a day or two to completely harden, and tiny bits of excess material may shed during this time, but this is normal and not a cause for concern. No diet changes are required, but you should try to avoid certain hard, sticky, or chewy foods that can wear down the sealant or pull it off completely. These include:
- Ice cubes
- Jawbreakers or other hard candies
- Fruit snacks or gummy bears
- Caramel or toffee
While these foods do not need to be avoided completely, minimizing consumption will help to prolong the durability of your sealants. During regular check-ups, we will examine the condition of your sealant to determine if a new application is recommended.
Schedule an Appointment to Learn More
Drs. Degel and Every-Degel understand that no two smiles are alike, and they will custom-tailor care to meet you and your family's unique needs. To learn more about sealants, schedule an appointment today.