Even with the best at-home dental care, people still occasionally develop cavities. However, as your dentist, we’re happy to fill you in on a little secret that can give you and your children an edge in staving them off: dental sealants.
What Are Dental Sealants?
A dental sealant is a thin, protective plastic coating that is brushed on to the back teeth, specifically the molars and premolars, to prevent tooth decay.
How Do Dental Sealants Work?
Your back teeth are filled with grooves which unfortunately, make it difficult to get this area completely clean. Because these teeth fissures often cannot be reached by your toothbrush, plaque tends to build up. The bacteria in plaque then damages tooth enamel, leading to cavities.
This is where dental sealants come in. These protective coverings create a smooth surface on your teeth, eliminating the fissures where plaque lurks. The smooth surface makes brushing easier, prevents the buildup of plaque, and reduces the risk of enamel erosion and ultimately, cavities.
What Is the Process for Getting Dental Sealants?
The process of getting dental sealants is a very simple one, and they can easily be applied during a routine visit. First, we’ll polish your tooth before completely drying it to prepare its surface for the sealant. Then, we’ll prep the tooth by applying an acidic solution that helps the sealant to adhere. Once the tooth dries again, we’ll paint on the dental sealant. Finally, we’ll cure the tooth by using a light that hardens the sealant. That’s it! The entire process takes just a few minutes.
Are Dental Sealants Safe?
The American Dental Association (ADA) has concluded that sealants are a safe and effective way of preventing cavities. In fact, they report that sealants on permanent molars reduce the risk of cavities by a whopping 80%!
Who Can Benefit from Dental Sealants?
We strongly recommend sealants for children and young teenagers. Because kids tend to struggle with brushing properly, dental sealants are a great protective measure for preventing tooth decay.
However, children aren’t the only people who can benefit from sealants. While the procedure is done much less frequently on grownups, there are still some adults who opt for dental sealants. Regardless of age, everyone is prone to tooth decay, so if you’re at high risk for cavities, we may recommend that you get sealants.
If you’d like to learn whether you could benefit from dental sealants, just mention it at your next appointment and we’ll evalute whether you or your child would be a good candidate!