If you have sensitive teeth, you’ve probably experienced discomfort with foods and drinks that are extremely hot or cold. If only you could seal and protect your teeth! There are different reasons for tooth sensitivity, including receding gums that expose tooth roots. Now there’s a treatment for that!
What is Seal and Protect?
Seal and Protect is a desensitizing application for the surfaces of exposed dentin in patients who have receding gums. It’s made in the US by Dentsply Sirona, and works with light curing.
Who is it for?
“Most of our Seal and Protect patients are adults,” says Shannon Brandstetter, RDH. “Kids rarely have gum recession, though teens sometimes experience recession if their teeth are misaligned and hit each other too hard, which causes them to recede.”
Why should you choose Seal and Protect?
Seal and Protect helps with tooth sensitivity and generally protects the root surface. If you clench and grind, your gum tissue slides down the tooth surface and recedes, exposing the tubules of the teeth, which can lead to sensitivity or even root decay. This treatment creates a barrier on the root surface to protect the roots from bacteria and acid—which can break down the root surface—and it protects the teeth from decay. It also offers protection against acid reflux, acidic drinks, bacteria, plaque, and sugar.
Patients with dry mouth frequently experience root decay. If you have dry mouth, this is a great preventative measure for you. And it’s proof positive that prevention is less expensive than cure: for those without insurance, Seal and Protect protective treatment costs $23 per quadrant (of the mouth) vs. $200 for a single filling.
What is the application process?
The application is easy, and there’s no numbing involved. Most frequently, your dental hygienist can apply the treatment. They’ll use gauze to wipe off the root surface, apply the liquid to the exposed root surface for 20 seconds, and then use a curing light for a few seconds to help it adhere. Most patients get two coats of the protective liquid. It usually takes 30-40 minutes to apply the full treatment to your entire mouth. There’s no burning, though you might experience a slight odor and/or aftertaste. Afterwards, the treated areas might feel a bit rough at first. During the first day, you might also get some flaking of the material from your gum tissue. But the liquid is clear, and your roots will look as they did before.
How long does it last?
The Seal and Protect treatment lasts 6-24 months. If you choose to have it done protectively (instead of on areas that have become problematic), we recommend redoing it every two years. We can check with a black light to see if your previous application has worn off. In patients who grind and clench aggressively, it could wear off faster, and those who are sensitive may notice when it starts to wear off. At Winchester Dental, we apply it by quadrant (of the mouth), and we will cover every exposed root surface in the quadrant.
When is the best time for Seal and Protect?
This treatment is most effective when we apply it right after a cleaning, because all your root surfaces should be clean to begin. If you have your treatment on a non-cleaning day, we’ll polish your root surfaces first.
Are there any side effects?
“There are no side effects,” says Shannon. “The product contains fluoride, which releases slowly usually over ten months or so. It’s the fluoride ion that helps strengthen the root surfaces. Your tooth’s root has no enamel, and this treatment protects it in the absence of enamel. But there are no pre-existing health conditions that would prevent a patient from choosing this treatment.”
What do patients ask most frequently about Seal and Protect?
“Many patients ask if this treatment will help reverse their gum recession, but unfortunately it doesn’t,” Shannon cautions. “However, many patients take advantage of it, and of course we will inform you about this option if we see a lot of gum recession. We want to protect your exposed root surfaces as best we can.”