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Why Have a Glass Ionomer Sealant?

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Dentists sometimes use specialist sealants to keep teeth healthy. For example, they may use these products on kids whose back baby teeth have the kinds of deep ridges and bumps that are hard to clean effectively. This solution also works for adults.

While sealants are usually resin-based, your dentist can also use products made from glass ionomer materials. These sealants have some useful benefits over resin alternatives. What are they?

Get a Better Hold

While resin sealants set hard, they work best in optimal conditions. Typically, the surface of the tooth has to be primed and completely dry before the sealant will fix firmly in place. It isn't always easy to achieve these conditions. If you're sealing a back tooth with deep fissures, then drying out these ridges doesn't always work. No matter how hard your dentist tries, your saliva may get into the space during the process. This might prevent the inner pockets of the fissures from drying out completely. If this happens, the resin may not take as well as it should. This could make the sealant fail more quickly and prevent it from giving you complete protection. Glass ionomer sealants can work in moist or wet conditions. They activate and stick just fine even if a tooth isn't completely dry. So, you'll get a more comprehensive seal and a better fix in some cases.

Get More Fluoride

Regular resin sealants create a hard layer over a tooth's surface. They prevent anything from getting under them. While this is the point of having a sealant in the first place, it does have some downsides. For example, a resin sealant won't absorb fluoride from your toothpaste. The covered tooth won't get fluoride benefits that your other teeth get. Some glass ionomer alternatives contain fluoride which they release slowly down into the tooth. This gives you extra protection. Plus, glass ionomer sealants are more permeable than resin ones. They won't block fluoride from toothpaste from getting to the tooth. The fluoride will work through the sealant into the tooth underneath. You get regular protection from your daily oral care routine as well as slow-release fluoride from the sealant itself. This could keep the tooth in a better condition.

If you aren't sure which sealant to go for, talk to a general dentist. They can assess the problem tooth and explain your options to you. In some cases, a glass ionomer fix may well be the best option.