What are Dental Sealants?
In simple words, dental sealants are coatings applied over the occlusal (biting) surface of the tooth in order to prevent the tooth from dental decay.
Now, Where do they come into action?
Dental sealants also popularly known as ‘pit and fissure sealants’ or ‘fissure sealants’ are used as a part of Preventive approach dentistry. The sealants are applied in deep pits and fissures which are often vulnerable to tooth decay.
See, tooth decay is microbial damage. Basically, lack of oral hygiene and diet contributes to dental caries. Once dental caries is established then the process cannot be reversed, the only restoration would help. Deep pits and fissures are prone to caries because of their anatomy so intervention has to be taken before the onset of decay. In this way, the risk of caries can be avoided. Dental sealants create a barrier between the tooth surface and the oral environment.It creates a smooth surface making plaque accumulation difficult in these areas and brushing becomes easy.
1. Poor oral hygiene
2. Deep retentive pits and fissures
3. Enamel hypoplasia
1. Good oral hygiene
2. Shallow self-cleansing pits and fissures
3. Previously restored pits and fissures
1. Initially polishing is done to remove plaque from the tooth surface.
2. After proper isolation is maintained, etching is done to create micropores into which the sealants can flow.
3. Etching is done approximately for 15-20 seconds.
4. After that, the tooth is completely rinsed and dried.
5. On drying chalky white appearance should be visible. Etching is repeated if you are not able to visualize the chalky appearance.
6. Then the sealant is applied to the prepared tooth surface.
7. And the sealant sets either with the help of light cure or dries itself.
Resin based sealant or Glass ionomer cement can be used as sealant materials. The technique is painless and does not take much time.
Oral hygiene should not be neglected after sealant application thinking sealants prevent decay as regular brushing and flossing must be continued. Maintenance of oral hygiene should be given importance regardless of any factor.