What are Dental Sealants?
Dental Sealants are used to thinly coat your teeth with a layer of protection. These tooth-colored resin materials make it much harder for bacteria to find places to hide in tooth crevices. The surface of your teeth, especially your molars, have uneven surfaces to help you chew food. As a result, there are a lot of pockets where food can get trapped and pressed down by your bite. When these teeth are covered in a sealant, it is much harder for bacteria to find a place to hide away and create problems.
When is a Dental Sealant Necessary?
Very few of us are near-perfect brushers and flossers. Even for those of us who are, this doesn’t mean we are immune to the possibility of tooth and gum decay as we get older. Your teeth play such a significant part of your life, from your smile and your diet to your overall health. It is important to consider the best ways to take care of them to help them last a lifetime.
Dental Sealants in Children
Even though sealants can be used at all ages, it is more common for children to get dental sealants. There are a few reasons for this. While baby teeth have thinner layers of enamel, which makes them more susceptible to cavities, permanent teeth in children and teens are not more prone to cavities in and of themselves. Rather, children and teens tend to have behaviors that make them more prone to getting cavities. These can include inadequate brushing technique, not brushing long enough, and poor or minimal flossing.
Additionally, children especially have a tendency to get more harmful bacteria on their hands and into their mouths than adults, which means the teeth are exposed to more potential contaminants. This includes saliva from other children, especially from the mouths of children who have untreated cavities. Diet can play a role as well, though it’s just just sugar intake. If your child gets a lot of cavities, a sealant may be a great option to help protect their teeth.
Dental sealants are completely safe for children. Nothing is drilled or goes inside the tooth. The material is similar to composite, white filling material. The big difference is that sealants are runnier, allowing them to easily flow into the micro grooves and crevices you want protected by a sealant. Last, modern sealant materials do not have BPA.
Dental Sealants in Adults
Some adults can have perfectly healthy teeth for most of their lives by brushing and flossing alone. Others can have a fair share of cavities and tooth decay even with good dental hygiene. Genetics plays a role as well as other factors. Dental sealants can be a great way to protect your teeth as you get older, especially if you have a greater tendency to get cavities. They also last a long time, typically five to ten years. As you think about protecting your teeth and keeping a healthier smile, discuss the benefits of dental sealants next time you visit us.
What is the Dental Sealant Procedure?
It only takes a few minutes to apply the sealant to each tooth. First, we clean the tooth and prepare the chewing surface of each tooth so the sealant sticks better. We then paint the sealant on and let it bond to the tooth surface. A special light is used to help the sealant harden.
After a few years, it is possible for the sealant to wear a little or become loose. Chewing on ice or hard foods can contribute to this. Still, it’s not something you need to regularly worry about. We will check on your sealed teeth each time you come so you can know they are still in good shape.