Dental sealants are an important way to protect your teeth from decay. Your family dentist can treat your teeth in a simple, in-office treatment that will greatly reduce your chances of developing tooth decay. Sealants are most often used for children, but can be used for adults as well.
What is a Dental Sealant?
Dental sealants are a plastic coating painted onto the chewing surfaces of the molars. The plastic is cured with a special light, and during the curing process, it bonds to the teeth, providing a protective layer and filling in crevasses where bacteria or food particles can collect. Although regular brushing and flossing can remove food particles, clinging sugars, and bacteria, sealants add another layer of protection that is helpful in cases where you can’t provide sufficient cleaning or when the teeth are particularly prone to decay.
Your family dentist can apply sealants right in the dental office. The procedure is simple, though it requires sitting still for a short period of time, which can be challenging for some children. The dentist uses a special appliance to hold the mouth open while the sealants are applied and during the curing process. Sealants usually last for about ten years, but your dentist will check them at each visit to be sure they haven’t eroded. If they have, he might recommend a second application.
Why Should I Have Dental Sealants?
Your family dentist will probably recommend them for your child as soon as his or her first permanent molars arrive. Sealants can help keep your child from developing cavities in these new teeth, which are especially prone to decay since children usually aren’t able to practice thorough dental hygiene when the teeth first arrive.
In adults, sealants are sometimes recommended on teeth that are especially prone to decay. This can include molars with particularly deep fissures and ridges. This kind of topography in a tooth can make it difficult for toothbrush bristles to reach food or plaque that might be trapped in these deep grooves. Even regular, diligent oral hygiene might not be enough to prevent decay in cases like these.
If you have more questions, call the office of Dr. Dan Bush today!