Are teeth sealants recommended? Why do dentists in Singapore not mention them?
What are some recommendations regarding sealants for teeth at the back? Why do dentists not inform patients about this?
Sealants act as a preventive role to prevent decay in the ‘grooves’ and ‘pits’ of the tooth. You could think of it like a layer on the tooth that prevents the entry of plaque, bacteria and fermentable food (eg sugars, starches) into the fissures.
“What are some recommendations regarding sealants for teeth at the back?”
However placing sealants is not necessary for every single patient. The general indications of sealants are mainly for:
- Patients with high caries risk (ie they either have multiple decay in their teeth, or have a past history of multiple teeth decay in their baby/adult teeth)
- Patients with special healthcare needs (rationale being they may not be able to upkeep their oral hygiene as well)
- Teeth with deep grooves that are difficult to clean well
“Why do dentists not inform patients about this?”
Therefore, your dentist would first make an assessment of your general oral condition and habits before discussing with you the need for sealants.
Also, as with any filling material, sealants are prone to wear and tear over time, with the possible need for replacements in future. Thus there is a need to weigh the benefits for each patient, as there may not be added benefits in doing so for some cases. eg) in a patient with no decay in their teeth at all, and have very good oral hygiene, and have been decay free for many years.
Hope this helps!(:
Generally teeth sealants aka pit and fissure sealants are not indicative for all patients. Why is that so? There are several factors that would predispose a patient to possibly needing them:
1. Patients who are at a high risk of developing decay.
These are patients who likely are having poor oral hygiene or have a history of the ease of developing decay. For kids, the best indicator would be that if their deciduous/baby teeth are already showing signs of decay.
2. Patients who are medically compromised
Patients who are possibly taking a lot of medications for their systemic diseases or patients who have undergone or undergoing chemotherapy/radiotherapy might have their saliva production slowed down and that would predispose them to a higher chance of developing decay.
3. Anatomy and position of the tooth
Some teeth are just harder to reach than others and the sealants could be an effective way to occlude the deep grooves if the patient is showing signs inability to clean a particular tooth or surface.
Well. why do dentists in Singapore not mention them? It depends on their philosophy in dentistry. Some dentists may find sealing all molars an overindication of dental treatment, and like how Dr Joanne mentioned it does wear with time. Thus having a broken or fractured sealant might actually be counterproductive as it might trap even more plaque.
Do talk to your dentist regarding the sealants as we still do have beneficial use for them, just not a broad stroke for all patients.
Have a good one!