Even with technological intervention in the medical field, there is no such thing as a perfect world. Tooth decay and cavities are still part of the world’s problems. Your teeth are prone to damage from the foods you eat, external impact, not to mention, internal health factors. This means that it may not be enough to sustain the good health of your teeth by merely brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing. Children and adults alike need to integrate better ways of taking care of their teeth to keep them healthier for longer.
What Are Dental Sealants?
They are plastic coatings that are used to protect the surfaces of teeth from damage that results from dental decay. The oral sealants are usually applied to the biting surfaces of teeth. Their primary function is to seal out plaque and food residues from getting trapped in the ridges and depressions of teeth. Oral sealants are commonly used for back teeth, which includes the premolars and molars. This is because the back teeth have more depressions, not to mention, are mostly involved in chewing and biting activities of the mouth.
Dental Sealants Procedure
The procedure begins with the cleaning of your teeth to remove food residues and plaque. Your teeth are then dried and kept dry, in readiness of the sealant. An acid solution is then used on the target tooth to roughen it. The roughening allows the material to bond properly to the tooth. Afterward, the plastic material is applied as a putty-like substance that is then hardened with ultraviolet light.
Dental Sealants Controversy
Much as dental sealants are to be praised for their ability to protect teeth from oral decay, there has been a controversy surrounding them. The controversy has been revolving around the effectiveness of the glass ionomer sealants in preventing tooth decay for children. Technically, dental sealants have been proven as effective in fighting dental decay.
The only problem is that they may need to be replaced after 5 or fewer years. Within that period, the effectiveness of the sealants in fighting dental decay narrows. This, however, is also affected by the material of dental sealant used, whether glass ionomer or resin. Besides that, some dental experts suggest a 50% chance of failure if the tooth being sealed is already decayed.
Another controversy lurks in the issue where the skills of the dentist applying the dental sealants determine the success of the outcome. This means that some of the patients who have dental sealants can still experience tooth decay because the application was not properly done to seal out all acids and plaque from damaging the tooth.
Are Dental Sealants Safe?
Safety is a great concern for any medical intervention, especially when the procedure is for kids. The greatest concern when it comes to the safety of dental sealants is BPA. It is a synthetic compound that is commonly found in plastics. Ideally, a large amount of this compound is harmful to human life.
Since dental sealants are plastic, they contain some traces of the synthetic compound. Given that you have the sealants consistently for a couple of years, it is normal to worry about the amount of exposure you have to that compound.
With that said, it has been ascertained by The American Dental Association that the amount of BPA present in oral sealants is very minimal. You have a higher chance of being exposed to huge amounts of BPA in your daily life than by the sealants. This means that oral sealants are safe for use.
The Pros and Cons of Dental Sealants
Pros of Dental Sealants
- They help fight tooth decay
- The procedure is quick and painless
- They improve oral hygiene
- They are much cheaper than dental fillings
- They are safe to use
Cons of Dental Sealants
- They are not durable – in 5 years or less, you have to replace them.
- They can seal in dental decay – if your teeth are not properly examined, sealants can seal in acids in a decayed tooth, resulting in more harm than good.
- They are not for everyone
- They cannot be applied over dental fillings or decayed teeth.