Pit and fissure sealants, fissure sealants, dental sealant
Sealants, also known as dental sealants, are terms used to designate a plastic coating which can be painted on the occlusal (chewing) surface of the molars and premolars (the permanent back teeth) in order to protect them from further decay due to the actions of bacteria and other acids. Putting on sealants, in a dental clinic, is nearly simple and painless. They are usually painted as a liquid which quickly dries and hardens to form a shield over the tooth.
Grooves and fissures present on the chewing surface of molars and premolars make them more susceptible to decay. Such fissures may be quite deep and narrow. Regular and thorough brushing and flossing are important to keep the smooth surfaces of teeth clean and free from food particles and plaque. However, toothbrushes fail to reach quite a few depressions and fissures to remove every single speck of food and plaque. Dental sealants provide added protection to your teeth against tooth decay in addition to fluorides present in your toothpaste, especially to the places which cannot be reached by the bristles of your toothbrush.
These sealants generally stay for a number of years. However, your dentist may recommend for checking them regularly in order to be sure whether the seal is still intact. Sealants may wear away with time and your dentist may sometimes feel the need for replacing or adding some sealant, so as to be sure that no tooth decay occurs underneath it.
The first dental sealant is applied generally on the fissure of molars and premolars, once their chewing surface has been worn out beyond the gum. So, if you are having tooth decay and cavities, consult your nearest dentist for having your decayed tooth sealed.
There are basically two types of sealants that are used in modern days. They are resin based sealant and glass ionomer sealants. Hybrid materials like polyacid modified resin, which is also known as "compomer”, lies between these two categories.
The exact technique for this treatment depends upon the material used and a proper method is highly necessary to increase the retention of sealants for a longer time. The patient is recommended to wear safety glasses for protection against chemicals and curing light. Once the patient is ready, the surface of the tooth must be cleaned for allowing maximum contact of the etch and the sealant with the surface of the enamel. In order to prevent saliva from contaminating the desired area to be sealed, a rubber dam may be used. However, for younger children such rubber dams are not preferred. Moisture control is more important for resin based sealant than glass ionomer sealants. The intended surface to be sealed should be thoroughly cleaned and dried.
Once the tooth is dried, this is followed by etching. Etching is done to create microscopic pores, which in turn increases the retention and the bond strength between the sealant and the enamel. The tooth is then rinsed and dried once again. The sealant is then applied to the desired tooth and either left to dry or set with a curing light. Applying fissure sealant is a quick and painless process. Overfilling on the tooth with the sealant ought to be avoided in order to minimize occlusal adjustment. The material is then allowed to rest for about 10 seconds prior to curing. This is done for allowing optimum penetration of the sealant material into the pores which were created by etching. This is followed by curing, which is done for 20 to 30 seconds.
If any person is having tooth decay and cavities reaching beyond their gum, then he/she is eligible for this treatment. Sealant provides protection to the worn out tooth against further decay.
People, who have healthy teeth with no problems of tooth decay or cavities, are not eligible for this treatment. Moreover, the sealant is placed by a dentist only when the cavities reach beyond their gum.
Dental sealants are not known to have any significant side effects as such. This treatment for tooth cavities is considered as safe. However, only a few cases have been reported where a person undergoing this treatment, may have allergic reactions due to the ingredients of the sealant. In such cases, care should be taken so as to check the ingredients of the sealant. Some ingredients of sealants are also known to cause cancer.
With proper care, sealants help in protecting the teeth for several years. The success of sealants depends on certain post treatment guidelines. These guidelines include maintaining oral hygiene and brushing teeth regularly with fluoride containing toothpaste, reducing sugar intake and sticky food items such as chocolates and candies, avoiding chewing on any hard material that can cause harm to the sealant. Sealant may feel a bit uncomfortable during the first few days, but with time an individual gets used to it.
The treatment of tooth cavities with sealant is an easy process. These sealants can be put on in a dental clinic and the process is quite simple and painless. They are usually painted as a liquid which quickly dries and hardens to form a shield over the tooth. This treatment takes only a few hours and the patient can go home on the same day itself.
The price of treatment of tooth cavities with sealant varies in different parts of India. On an average, the price of this treatment varies from Rs. 1,960 to Rs. 3,910 per tooth. This treatment Is easily available in almost all dental clinics in India.
Sealants protect teeth from further decay and may last for several years. However, sealants may wear away with time and dentists may feel it necessary to replace or add sealant later, in order to prevent further decay underneath it.