Dental Sealants Cost, Safety, Dangers For Kids & AdultsWhat are Dental Sealants?
Dental sealant, also known as pit and fissure sealant, is generally a plastic, material that is professionally applied on the top chewing surface of the back teeth to prevent pits, fissures and/or cavities, by forming as a physical barrier to the cavity-causing bacteria, so that they cannot invade the teeth anymore.
Dental sealants also called tooth sealants are used as barriers that protect the teeth against bacteria that are responsible for tooth decay. They are generally applied on to the chewing surfaces and to the teeth including premolars and molars. Because these teeth are more susceptible to the decay-causing bacterial attacks.
History of Dental Sealants
The dental sealants or tooth sealants are mainly plastic resins that dentists bond within the grooves of a tooth on the chewing surface to prevent tooth decay. Since early 70s, there has been great awareness with the advent of fluoride-based toothpastes and children’s dental care has been positive. There were few complaints of pits and cavities. And, during mid 80s about 90% of the children came with complaint of cavities for several reasons.
It was during that time that dental sealants came into picture. These are touted as miracle substances that could prevent tooth decay from pits, cavities and otherwise fissures. Ever since dental sealants have been approved by dentists all over. At 6 years of age, when the first permanent molars grow inside the mouth, sealants protect these from caries and bacteria. At again, 12 years of age, when the set of second permanent molars come up, pit and fissure surfaces of these teeth are given a coat of dental sealants to protect their surfaces. The sealants are applied just after the set has come up. Dental sealants should be applied for teeth of children mainly to prevent growth up cavities at early stages of life.
Sealants and Chewing Teeth
Toothpastes, gels, community water, varnish and mouth rinse help to prevent decay of the tooth, through high level of Fluorides. However, they only take care of the smooth surfaces of a tooth. The chewing surfaces, however, of the premolars and molars are rough with tiny grooves. It is in these tiny grooves that food and bacteria house, generating acids and resulting in tooth decay. These cavity-causing surfaces of the tooth are easily protected with a coat of dental sealants.
Bacteria are mostly found on dental plaque, thin envelope surrounding tooth at its base. The longer time the dental plaque is retained on the tooth's surface, the higher is the chance of it to result in a cavity. It is through dental cleaning that these plaques are removed. However, for teeth such as the premolars and the molars whose surfaces are rugged, it’s not an easy procedure as well.
A research conducted by the University of Granada, Spain, concludes that hormone-mimicking compounds leach into the saliva from the plastic resin used in the dental sealants. Again, a Boston University team found two other dental sealants releasing other suspicious environmental hormone-like compounds that were found detected by the Spanish team. But there were many substantial and environmental differences in the two studies, and people are not much convinced that the dental sealants can be any harmful.
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