Dental Sealants in Waterford, MI

Protect Your Smile with Dental Sealants 

A healthy, radiant smile is a valuable asset that we all cherish. However, maintaining optimal oral health requires more than just regular brushing and flossing. At Oakland Family Dental, our experienced Waterford, MI dentist, Dr. Amanda Sheehan offers dental sealants. Dental sealants are a crucial yet often overlooked tool in the arsenal of preventive dentistry. These thin, protective coatings provide an extra layer of defense against cavities, particularly in those hard-to-reach areas of the mouth. 

If you’re interested in enhancing your overall oral health, contact your Waterford, MI dentist today by giving Oakland Family Dental a call at (248) 674-0384.

What Are Dental Sealants?

Dental sealants are thin, plastic coatings painted onto the chewing surfaces of back teeth. They act as a barrier to keep out food particles and germs that cause cavities.

The chewing surfaces of back teeth have lots of pits and grooves that are difficult to keep clean. Food and bacteria can get stuck in them, putting teeth at higher risk for tooth decay. Sealants fill these pits and grooves to create a smooth, protected surface.

The Importance of Dental Sealants

Dental sealants play a vital role in preventive oral care. Getting sealants can:

  • Reduce Decay Risk: Dental sealants benefit patients by shielding the chewing surfaces most prone to tooth decay. This significantly cuts the chance of cavities developing.
  • Save Time and Money: It’s much cheaper and easier to get sealants than extensive dental work later. Preventing problems is always better than treating them after the fact.
  • Protect Teeth Through Childhood: Sealants last several years and are most effective when applied soon after back teeth erupt. These barriers shield teeth through the cavity-prone ages of six to 14.
  • Supplement Good Hygiene: No matter how well patients brush and floss, sealants add an extra layer of defense against tooth decay.

Candidacy for Dental Sealants

Dental sealants are safe and effective for most people. Candidates include:

  • Children and Teens: Baby teeth and newly erupted permanent teeth are still maturing and are most vulnerable to decay. Sealants prevent problems from starting early.
  • Adults With Deep Grooves: Some molars naturally have deep pits and grooves that collect plaque. Sealants help prevent cavities and tooth decay, even in mature teeth.
  • Dry Mouth Patients: Reduced saliva raises cavity risk. Sealants boost protection for those with dry mouth.
  • Braces Wearers: Brackets create more plaque traps. Sealants limit this added risk by protecting natural tooth enamel.
  • Cavity-Prone Patients: Frequent decay runs in some families. Sealants provide an extra preventive barrier.

Dental Sealant Placement 

Thorough Cleaning

Applying dental sealants always starts with a thorough professional cleaning at Oakland Family Dental. Our skilled dental hygienists use specialized dental instruments to carefully remove any built-up plaque, tartar, or debris from the tooth surfaces receiving sealants. Proper cleaning creates a smooth, clean surface for the sealants to adhere to. 

Etching the Tooth

After thoroughly cleaning the tooth surface, your Waterford dentist will apply an etching solution. This gel contains mild phosphoric acid, similar to what’s in tooth whitening treatments. The acid microscopically textures the enamel surface to prepare the tooth for sealant bonding. 

Applying the Sealant

With the tooth surface prepped, Dr. Sheehan will apply the dental sealant material. She uses a small applicator brush to paint the liquid resin sealant onto the tooth, ensuring it flows smoothly and evenly into every pit and groove on the chewing surface. 

Dr. Sheehan may apply multiple thin layers to build the protective coating to the proper thickness. Her careful application ensures the sealant shields the entire chewing surface without leaving any weak points.

Curing the Sealant

Once applied, Dr. Sheehan will use a handheld curing light to harden and set the dental sealant material. This light thoroughly hardens the sealant into a durable plastic coating. 

The curing light is an essential final step to ensure the sealant provides long-lasting protection. You’ll leave our Waterford dental office with a newly protected tooth and renewed confidence in your oral health.

Caring For Dental Sealants

Dental sealants are durable but require some care to get the most longevity from them. Dr.Sheehan suggests these sealant care tips:

  • Brush Twice and Floss Once Daily: Meticulous brushing and flossing prevent sealant breakdown and cavities.
  • Avoid Hard, Sticky Foods: Candies, ice, and chewy gummies can pop sealants off if bitten into too vigorously. Take care when eating these treats.
  • Visit Oakland Family Dental Regularly: Dr. Sheehan checks sealants at visits and can reapply them if needed. Catching any issues early keeps sealants working their best.
  • Use a Night Guard if Grinding Teeth: Clenching and grinding wear down sealants faster. A custom night guard protects them.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do sealants have any side effects?

Sealants are extremely safe with no short or long-term side effects. Some patients report mild sensitivity for a day or two after application as the sealant initially hardens. This soon resolves on its own.

How long do dental sealants last?

With good oral care, sealants typically last around five years before needing reapplication. Some may last up to 10 years. Your dentist will check them at your regular visits to ensure they are still intact.

Can I tell if my sealants fell out?

You may be able to feel a rough spot with your tongue, but sealants often fracture in hard-to-see places. See your dentist every six months to examine sealants and reseal any problem areas before decay sets in.

When can children first get sealants?

The ideal timing is as soon as permanent molars fully erupt, around age six or seven. Sealants work best when applied right after teeth emerge before extensive tooth decay can start.

Embark on Your Journey to a Brighter Smile

By opting for dental sealants, you’re investing in a long-lasting barrier that safeguards your teeth against decay. Don’t wait to take this vital step towards a healthier smile. Schedule your appointment at Oakland Family Dental and experience the benefits of dental sealants firsthand.