Thorough brushing and flossing help keep the teeth clean by removing plaque and food debris from the smooth surfaces of the teeth. But there are certain rough spots on the teeth that toothbrush bristles cannot always reach. Dental sealants protect these surfaces by keeping plaque and bacteria out. Dental sealants can be thought of as barriers that protect the chewing surfaces of the teeth, especially the back teeth, against cavities and decay. They are thin coatings of plastic material that are applied to the grooves and fissures on the surfaces of the back teeth in the mouth.
What are the steps involved in applying dental sealants?
- The surface of the teeth to be sealed is cleaned to allow the sealant to bond properly. This is done by using a small brush attached to a dental drill. As the drill spins the brush, it scrubs the tooth surface and cleans out the grooves.
- Next, an etching gel is applied to the tooth surface and is washed after twenty to sixty seconds. The tooth is then dried. This is an important step because this is what is going to allow the dental sealant to stay in place and strengthen its grasp into roughened surface of the tooth.
- The sealant material is painted onto the grooves of the dried tooth.
- The sealant is hardened using a curing light. This is a kind of dental flashlight that outputs blue light. Once the sealant has been positioned properly, it can be easily set into fixed place using the curing light.
With proper care, dental sealants can last for up to 10 years. Do not forget that proper oral hygiene is important despite the availability of dental procedures such as dental sealants to protect your teeth. Your overall oral health still relies on you.
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