Dental sealants are protective coatings that are brushing onto the chewing surfaces of teeth, usually the premolars and molars. Both premolars and molars have what are known as “pits and fissures”, meaning that they are texturized. Because they are not smooth, plaque and food can easily accumulate within these grooves and cause tooth decay. Dental sealants prevent tooth decay by keeping bacteria from entering the teeth. Because of this, dental sealants are an easy and effective preventative measure used to protect areas of your teeth that may be missed while brushing.
Did You Know?
According to the American Dental Association, dental sealants have reduced the risk of tooth decay by approximately 80% for the first two years and 50% for up to four years.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Am I a candidate for dental sealants?
You may be a candidate for dental sealants if you are looking for an additional way to protect your teeth from tooth decay. You may also be a candidate for dental sealants if you have a hard time with brushing towards the back of your mouth. Additionally, dental sealants are recommended by the American Dental Association for children around the age of twelve. Around this age, their molars will erupt and it is recommended to have them treated with dental sealants to prevent future decay. To find out if you or your family is a candidate for dental sealants, schedule a consultation with Dr. Pasha of Pasha Dental today!
What are dental sealants made from?
Dental sealants are made up of glass ionomers, composite resins, resin-modified glass ionomers, or polyacid-modified resins. They are differentiated by how the material reacts during the application. For example, glass ionomers undergo an acid-base reaction and experience less shrinkage during application. Composite resins, on the other hand, undergo a polymerization reaction that requires the use of a dental curing light. Both resin-modified glass ionomers and polyacid-modified resins undergo a combination of these two reactions and offer characteristics of both.
Dental sealants can also be divided into two different types: filled and unfilled. Filled sealants are those that are composed of resins, chemicals, and fillers. The extra fillers used in filled sealants make them stronger while bonding and less likely to wear down quickly. Unfilled dental sealants, on the other hand, are composed primarily of resins with less filler material. Since they contain less fillers, they are thinner and can flow into the various grooves of your teeth easier. However, their thinness also causes them to wear down faster.
Recently there has been some controversy over the use of the chemical bisphenol-A (BPA) in dental resins. However, there are only tiny trace amounts of BPA used in dental resin and it has been found that more BPA exists in food and beverage packaging than in dental resin. Furthermore, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and the American Dental Association both still advocate for the use dental sealants and have found dental sealants to be safe.
Do dental sealants come in different colors?
Dental sealants can be clear, white, or slightly shaded to the color of your tooth. However, once in place they will blend with the natural color of your teeth and become almost invisible.
Are dental sealants safe?
The main reason people question the safety of dental sealants is due to the possibility of some dental sealants containing BPA. However, they have been deemed safe by the American Dental Association, American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Research done in August of 2016 found that only 0.09 nanograms (that is one billionth of a gram or 0.0000000000002 lbs) are present in dental sealants. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency sets the limit for an average 44 lb six year old child at 1 million nanograms per day, meaning that the child would have to receive about ten million times the amount of BPA in dental sealants to even be considered hazardous. With this information, it can be deduced that dental sealants are, in fact, safe. However, if you are still not convinced, there are BPA-free dental sealant options available.
What can I expect when having dental sealant treatment at Pasha Dental?
At Pasha Dental, the application of dental sealants is quite simple. For starters, anesthetics are not needed because dental sealants are only applied to the surface of your teeth and will cause not pain or discomfort during their application. Before applying your dental sealant, Dr. Pasha will first thoroughly clean your teeth to remove any excess plaque and tartar that has accumulated on your enamel. Next, an acidic gel will be brushed onto your teeth and rinsed after a few seconds. This acidic gel is used to slightly roughen up the surface of your teeth so that the sealant can adhere more securely. After the acidic gel is rinsed, your teeth will be dried and then the dental sealant will be brushed onto the chewing surfaces of your teeth. It is important that your tooth remain dry while the dental sealant is being applied so that it can properly adhere to the various grooves on your tooth. The sealant will then be hardened into place using a special curing light.
In addition, Pasha Dental has a unique approach to dental sealants and uses Solea® Lasers during the sealant placement process. Because the Solea® Laser acts as a sealant itself by sealing the “pores” of the teeth, dental sealants placed with Solea® Lasers have a higher bond strength. Also, if the sealant is lost on the tooth for any reason, the tooth itself is much more resistant to decay because it was treated with the laser.
Once your dental sealant has been applied, you will be able to return to your usual routine with no down time. This is because the dental sealant is instantly hardened during your treatment and no anesthetics means that your mouth will not be numb.
Are dental sealants better than traditional fillings?
It depends on the situation. Dental sealants can be applied to a tooth with early decay and will work to prevent further decay. Dental sealants are generally less expensive and have an easier application process than do traditional fillings, however there may still be instances where a filling is the better option. It is also important to note that dental sealants are not effective on restorations such as dental crowns or dental implants.
What is the difference between dental sealants and fluoride varnish?
Dental sealants are a thin, plastic coating that is applied to the chewing surfaces of teeth and will last for years. Dental sealants function to fill the grooves in your teeth to prevent food or plaque from accumulating and causing tooth decay. Fluoride varnish, on the other hand, is a liquid that is brushed onto all surfaces of your teeth to strengthen your enamel in order to prevent tooth decay. Fluoride varnish is generally flavored, while dental sealants are not. To protect against tooth decay, it is recommended to get both dental sealants and fluoride varnish.
How long do dental sealants last?
Dental sealants can safely remain on your teeth for up to nine years. However, they offer the most protection in the first two years, with decent protection lasting up to four years. After two to four years, you will likely want to consider having dental sealants applied again to maintain the best level of protection.
Are there any problems associated with dental sealants?
The most common problem associated with dental sealants is that they may need to applied again due to falling out, chipping, or becoming worn away. To repeat the application process, any existing sealant must first be removed from the tooth. Because of this, a special dental tool called a scaler is used to gently scrape away the remaining sealant. A drill may also be used to remove existing sealants.
Leaving broken or chipped dental sealants without repair can cause food and bacteria to permeate the protective layer and your tooth. Once inside the tooth, this can cause decay and may require additional treatment. Because of this, it is important to schedule regular dental checkups with Dr. Pasha so he can monitor your dental sealants for signs of damage or wear, and adjust as needed.
Another common problem mentioned with dental sealants is that the extra layer can make your bite feel different. This is usually just a matter of getting used to the dental sealant and your bite should feel more normal once you adjust. Dental sealants only add a single layer to your teeth and do not drastically affect your bite in any way.
Other than the possibility of having to be applied again and possibly feeling strange, dental sealants have few problems. The majority of people tolerate sealants well and there have been no adverse reactions reported.
What is the cost of dental sealants?
Dental sealants are affordable and generally only cost about $110 per tooth, which is about half the cost of a traditional filling. Also, many dental insurance companies offer partial, if not full, coverage for preventative dental procedures. Because dental sealants are considered to be a preventative treatment, you may be able to receive full coverage from your dental insurance company.
Dr. Pasha Javaheri Saatchi provides friendly, compassionate dental services at the forefront of dental technology to the Brooklyn, NY area as well as to Staten Island, Queens, and Manhattan. To experience the best dental care in NYC, schedule a consultation today at Pasha Dental.