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Dental Sealants

Dental sealants are a thin, clear coating that is applied to the chewing surfaces of the molars and premolars to prevent plaque and food debris from accumulating and causing tooth decay. Essentially, they do just as their name suggests: they seal out the bacteria that causes tooth decay.  Because of this, dental sealants are considered to be a preventative dental treatment because they are applied to healthy teeth with the intention of keeping them healthy. 

Did You Know?

The molars and premolars are more susceptible to developing tooth decay than the other teeth in the mouth. This is because they contain pits and fissures that are highly textured and can easily trap food particles, which can lead to the buildup of plaque. Once plaque has been established, the bacteria that cause tooth decay have a food source.

Frequently Asked Questions: 

Do I need dental sealants?

You may need dental sealants if you are at a high risk for developing tooth decay and are looking for a non-invasive way to protect your teeth. Some examples of high risk patients can include individuals who cannot brush in the back of their mouth properly, cannot follow a daily oral hygiene routine, or for those who have certain medical conditions that may put them at an increased risk for developing tooth decay. Additionally, dental sealants are well suited for children because children often struggle with using the proper brushing and flossing techniques. To find out if you need dental sealants, schedule a consultation with Dr. Claudia Wood of Danforth Dental Solutions today. 

Do dental sealants come in different colors?

The most common color for dental sealants is clear. With that being said, some types of dental sealants can be either shaded to the natural color of your teeth or can simply be white. 

What are dental sealants made from?

Dental sealant tubes on a white background

Dental sealants can be made from glass ionomer, composite resin, or a mix of the two (resin-modified glass ionomers and polyacid-modified resins). The difference between these two materials lies in how they are initially placed. Glass ionomers use a chemical acid-base reaction to adhere to the tooth, while composite resin must undergo a polymerization reaction stimulated by a dental curing light.  For resin-modified glass ionomers and polyacid-modified resins, there must be a combination of the two reactions for the dental sealant to fuse with the natural tooth structure. 

Is one type of dental sealant better than another?

Not necessarily. However, there may be cases where one type is recommended over another. During your dental consultation, Dr. Wood will determine which type of dental sealant is best for your dental needs. Nevertheless, here are some brief comparisons between the two main types: 

Glass Ionomer 

  • Uses acid-base reaction
  • Less shrinking 
  • Higher fluoride release
  • Low thermal expansion
  • Cannot stretch well
  • More likely to remove moisture
  • Stiff

Composite Resin

  • Uses polymerization reaction with curing light
  • More shrinking
  • Less fluoride release
  • Less expansion
  • Ability to stretch
  • Less likely to remove moisture

Are dental sealants safe?

Yes, the Canadian Dental Association and Health Canada have declared dental sealants to be safe. Although they may contain trace amounts of BPA, the amount of exposure is so low that it is not deemed to be problematic. It is important to note that BPA is not an ingredient in dental sealants, rather it is a temporary by-product of the placement or a left-over from the manufacturing process. Because of this, the exposure level is so minuscule that it does not warrant regulation because it is no where near causing any kind of damage. 

What can I expect when having dental sealants placed at Danforth Dental?

Man having a dental sealant placed with a curing light

Dental sealants are placed painlessly and quickly at Danforth Dental. To place dental sealants, your teeth will first need to be thoroughly cleaned. This ensures that all the plaque, tartar, and bacteria is removed from the surface of your teeth so that it does not get trapped underneath the sealant. Once your teeth are clean, then an acidic gel will be placed on your teeth in order to roughen your enamel. This is important because it will help the sealant adhere better. After the acidic gel is rinsed, your teeth will be dried and the dental sealant will be brushed over the chewing surface of your molars and premolars. Depending on the type of sealant, it will either be left in place momentarily to dry or it will be dried with a dental curing light. Once the sealant has hardened into place, you are free to return to your usual routine and will have no post-treatment guidelines to follow. 

How long do dental sealants last?

Woman smiling in grey shirt

Dental sealants are generally effective for about 2-4 years. During the first two years, dental sealants can reduce the risk of tooth decay by 80%, however this drops to 50% around the four year mark.  After four years, it is generally recommended to have dental sealants reapplied to maintain the highest level of effectiveness. 

Depending on your dental habits, dental sealants may also fall out, chip, or wear down faster than usual. It is extremely important that you visit our office if you notice any chips in your dental sealant. Without repair, bacteria can enter and become trapped under the dental sealant, leading to tooth decay. During your regular dental checkup, our dentists will check your sealant to make sure it is in good condition. Additionally, if you grind or clench your teeth, we may fit you with a night guard to protect your teeth and prevent your dental sealant from becoming damaged. 

How much do dental sealants cost?

Dental sealants are rather affordable, especially in comparison with restorative treatments. On average, dental sealants can cost about $110 per tooth. This is about half the cost of a traditional filling and a fraction of the cost of more involved restorative procedures. Additionally, if you have dental insurance you may be able to obtain some level of coverage. Some dental insurance plans may even offer full coverage since dental sealants are considered a preventative treatment. 

For dedicated and caring dental care, schedule a consultation with Dr. Claudia Wood of Danforth Dental Solutions. Danforth Dental Solutions is proud to serve Toronto and the surrounding areas. 

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