Replacing or Repairing Worn Adult Dental Sealants

No one outgrows tooth cavities, which probably explains why many adults are getting dental sealants. Sealants used to be for children to prevent cavities, but now, dentists are providing them for adults who need them. Although sealants are more practical in kids and teenagers, the benefits remain the same across all ages.

Dental sealants are usually applied to the chewing surfaces of the molars and premolars. The substance used can be transparent or tooth-colored and serves as a shield to prevent bacteria and plaque from accumulating on the grooves and crevices of the teeth, thus preventing cavities. When applied correctly, a sealant can serve for up to 10 years or more before needing repair or replacement.

Patients who engage in bad oral habits such as nail biting, teeth grinding or participate in contact sports without wearing a mouthguard may damage the dental sealant prematurely. When this happens, the patient must return to the dentist to have the sealants repaired or replaced.

Repairing worn dental sealants

The process of repairing or replacing adult dental sealants is similar to getting a new sealant. The procedure is painless and needs no drilling or anesthesia. Patients can expect the following when they visit the dentist to repair a damaged dental sealant:

Tooth preparation

First, the dentist will abrade the surface of the tooth to remove the damaged sealant, plaque and food debris. Afterward, the dental expert will isolate and remove moisture entirely from the tooth. The tooth surface will be etched, and the etching material will be cleaned off before drying the tooth.

Sealant application

The dentist will place the dental sealant substance on the tooth surface using a brush and use a self-curing light to harden the sealant over the tooth surface. Once the sealant is placed and dried, it will not feel or look different from the normal teeth.

Final evaluation

Finally, the dentist will check the sealant to ensure everything is in order. After the dental sealant hardens, it turns into a hard plastic shield, and the tooth will once again be protected. The success of the procedure depends on how the sealant is applied. The tooth must be sufficiently dry to ensure retention.

The primary cause of sealant failure is moisture contamination. If any bubble is present in the plastic resin, it could weaken the coating. If the sealant is not applied fully on the grooves, the sealant may break and eventually leave the tooth vulnerable to decay. The dentist will check the integrity of the sealant during routine dental checkups and repair it if it is damaged.

Final note

After getting the dental sealants, patients can expect them to last up to 10 years with adequate oral care. They will not need to be removed; instead, the sealants will deteriorate with time until the dentist determines that they need to be replaced. Still, the hardened plastic is highly durable as long as you avoid activities that put undue pressure on the teeth, such as teeth clenching and opening bottles with the teeth.

Request an appointment here: or call Galleria Dental Arts at (703) 368-9777 for an appointment in our Manassas office.

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