Dr. Hanan A. Elsaie DDS,
one of America’s Top Dentists, Consumers’ Research Council of America, Guide to America’s Top Dentists

Dominion 1 Dental - Arlington, TX. Tel: (817) 784-7888

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Dental Sealants

Dental Sealants and Fissurotomy

Dental Sealants are clear plastic coatings or films painted on the biting surfaces of morals and premolars. The sealant protects the tooth from having a cavity by shielding against bacteria and plaque. Sealants are highly effective in the prevention of cavities. They were acquired through dental research in the 1950s which first became available commercially in the early 1970s. By 1972, the American Dental Association Council on Dental Therapeutics accepted the first sealant.

Properly applied sealants are proven to be 100 percent effective for the protection of the tooth surfaces from cavities and tooth decay, clinically known as caries. Protection is determined by the sealant’s ability to hold on to the tooth because sealants act as a physical barrier to decay. When placed on top of a slightly decayed tooth, sealants in fact stop cavities by sealing off the supply of nutrients to the bacteria which causes cavity, shown and proven by research. Small food particles and bacteria which cause cavities cannot penetrate through or around a sealant provided that the sealant remains intact. When all or part of the bond between the tooth and sealant is broken, the protection of sealant is reduced or even lost. On the other hand, teeth that have lost sealants are no more susceptible to tooth decay than teeth that were never sealed, as shown by the clinical studies.

Cleaning the surface of the tooth and rinsing the surface to remove all indications of the cleaning agent is included in sealant application process. The enamel of the tooth as well as the pits and grooves is applied with a gel or an etching solution. The solution is rinsed away thoroughly with water after fifteen seconds. The sealant material is applied and allowed to harden by using a special curing light after the site is dried. Other sealants are applied and allowed to harden much like nail polish is applied to fingernails. Sealant treatment is painless and depends on how many teeth need to be sealed, it could take anywhere from five to forty-five minutes to apply. To achieve a good retention, sealants have to be applied correctly.

Sealants can last for a maximum of ten years and should last five years. Seven years after application of sealants, a remarkable forty-nine percent of treated teeth were still completely covered as of the report of a study. Sealants should not be regarded as permanent. It is necessary to attend regular dental check-ups to check the sealants’ bond to the tooth.

Children often receive sealant treatment due to having newly erupted, permanent teeth. The biting surfaces of children’ís teeth are most at risk to cavities and are least benefited by fluoride. Those who have existing pits as well as grooves vulnerable to decay can benefit from sealant placement. It was shown in the research that almost everybody has a ninety-five percent chance of eventually experiencing cavities in the pits and grooves of teeth. Due to food particles and bacteria that are not cleaned out, about two-thirds of all cavities occur in the narrow pits and grooves of a child’s newly erupted teeth.

Coverage by insurance is still minimal even though insurance benefits for sealant process have increased considerably. The trend is toward expanded coverage of the benefit, particularly as companies begin to realize that sealants are a proven preventive technique. This preventive measure can protect teeth from aggressive forms of treatment and can help lessen future dental expenses. It is always best to consult a dentist.