Preventative Restorative Resin

This is the appropriate procedure when there are deeper pits and grooves which have developed some stains. If we were to just seal the pits there is a danger that we would seal in decay.  Preventative restorative resin or PRR for short is a simple procedure which requires cleaning out the grooves with a tiny burr.  No anesthetic is required.  Sometimes the deep grooves do have decay. At this point we are sometimes able to complete this shallow cavity without freezing.  After cleaning the grooves and the pits of stain we prepare the tooth like we would with a white filling and place a shallow white filling to protect the tooth.

What exactly are dental sealants?

Sealants are plastic material that are usually applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth (premolars and molars). This plastic resin bonds into the depressions and grooves (pits and fissures) of the chewing surfaces. The sealant acts as a barrier, protecting enamel from plaque and acids.

Thorough flossing and brushing helps remove food particles and plaque from the smooth surfaces of your teeth. However, the bristles in toothbrushes don’t have the ability to reach into the grooves and depressions. Sealants help protect the vulnerable areas of your teeth by “sealing out” plaque and food.

Is sealant application a complicated procedure?

Sealants are easy to apply, and it takes only a few minutes to seal each tooth. The teeth that will be sealed are cleaned and then the fissures and pits are roughened with an solution to help the sealant adhere better . The sealant is then ‘painted’ onto the fissures, and hardens with a special curing light where it bonds to the tooth.

As long as the sealant remains intact, the tooth surface will be protected from decay. Sealants hold up well under the force of normal chewing and usually last several years before a reapplication is needed. During your regular dental visits, your dentist will check the condition of the sealants and reapply them when necessary.

Are sealants just for children?

Children and teenagers are the usual candidates of developing pit and fissure decay ; however, adults are still able to have sealants.

Key ingredients in preventing tooth decay and maintaining a healthy mouth are twice-daily brushing with an ADA-approved fluoride toothpaste; cleaning daily between the teeth with floss or interdental cleaners; eating a balanced diet and limiting snacks; and finally visiting your dentist regularly. Ask your dentist about whether sealants can put extra power behind your prevention program.

Which teeth need sealants?

Permanent molars are most likely to benefit from sealant application. First molars usually come into the mouth when a child is about 6 years of age. Second molars appear at about age 12. It is best if the sealant is applied soon after the molars have erupted, before the teeth have a chance to decay. For that reason, children between the ages of 5 and 15 benefit most from sealants.

Are sealants visible to our eyes?

Upon close examination sealants can be seen. Sealants can be clear, white, or slightly tinted. Because they are used only on the back teeth, sealants cannot be seen when a child talks or smiles.

Generally, how long will sealants last?

One sealant application can last for as long as 5 to 10 years. Sealants should be checked regularly, and reapplied if they are no longer in place.

Will sealants change the feelings in my mouth?

Like anything new that is placed in the mouth, a child may feel the sealant with the tongue. Sealants, however, are very thin and only fill the pits and grooves.

Can sealants replace fluoride?

Sealants do not replace the need for fluoride. Fluoride works best on the smooth surfaces of teeth. The chewing surfaces on the back teeth, however, have tiny grooves where decay often begins. Sealants keep germs out of the grooves by covering them with a safe plastic coating. Sealants and fluorides work together to prevent tooth decay.

How do sealants fit into a preventive dentistry program?

Sealants should be used as part of a child’s total preventive dental care. A complete preventive dental program includes use of sealants, fluoride, plaque removal, careful food choices, and regular dental care.

Why is it better to have a tooth sealed instead of waiting for decay and to fill the cavity?

Sealants assist in maintaining sound, intact teeth. Decay destroys the structure of the tooth. Each time a filling is replaced, there is additional loss of tooth structure. Fillings usually last 6 to 8 years before they need replacement. Sealants can save time, money, and the need for dental treatment in the future