Definition of a Dental Sealants
Dental sealants cover teeth to prevent tooth decay. They are made of a thin, plastic coating and are placed on the chewing surfaces of the back teeth (molars). The sealant bonds to the tooth and creates a barrier to between the tooth’s enamel and anything that could cause decay.
Although brushing and flossing typically take care of decay issues, some teeth, especially those at the back of the mouth, have small areas that are hard to reach. These nooks and crannies will fill with bacteria that turns into plaque that turns into decay. A sealant keeps that from happening.
If you have molars that do not have any decay or fillings, then you are a good candidate for sealants. Most sealants are placed on children and teens because they do not yet have issues with their teeth, and they are in the most cavity-prone time of their life. Sealants should be applied to the tooth as soon as it is fully in for the best protection possible.
Are Sealants Necessary?
Many people believe there is no use having a procedure done on a baby tooth that is just going to fall out anyway. However, baby teeth are very important and should be taken care of. A baby tooth holds the place for the permanent tooth. If the baby tooth is lost too early, the mouth, jaw, and teeth placements can change leading to problems when the permanent teeth are ready to come in. Sealants can help protect the baby teeth and keep them strong until they are ready to come out on their own.
Getting Dental Sealants
The process of applying sealants is quick and does not require any kind of anesthetic to numb the mouth.
- Teeth are cleaned and dried.
- Cotton is placed in the mouth to keep each tooth dry.
- Teeth are roughened up using an acid solution to allow the sealant to bond more easily with the natural tooth.
- Teeth are rinsed and dried once more.
- The sealant is painted on the chewing surfaces of the teeth.
Sealants, though no permanent, can help prevent decay for up to 10 years. Sealants can become worn or chipped, so regular dental visits to check the teeth and sealants is recommended. Your dentist will be able to replace damaged sealants at your regular office visits.
How Are Sealants Applied?
Applying sealant is a simple process. It takes only a few minutes for your dentist or hygienist to apply the sealant to seal each tooth.
The application steps are as follows:
- First the teeth that are to be sealed are thoroughly cleaned.
- Each tooth is then dried and cotton or another absorbent material is put around the tooth to keep it dry.
- An acid solution is put on the chewing surfaces of the teeth to roughen them up, which helps the sealant bond to the teeth.
- The teeth are then rinsed and dried.
- Sealant is then painted onto the tooth enamel, where it bonds directly to the tooth and hardens.
- Sometimes a special curing light is used to help the sealant harden.
How Long Do Dental Sealants Last?
Sealants can protect teeth from decay for up to 10 years, but they need to be checked for chipping or wearing at regular dental check-ups. Your general dentist can replace sealants as necessary.
Insurance and Sealants
Sealants are covered by most insurance policies though some have age limits for their application. Check with your carrier to see if your plan covers the procedure.
Delivering Essential Protection in a Thin, Plastic Coating
When it comes to tooth decay, it’s never too early to begin protecting your teeth. And, when it comes to children and teenagers, preventing decay in the depressions and grooves of essential teeth like premolars and molars is simple when you turn to sealants as a solution.
At Affordable Dentist Near Me, we highly encourage sealants in addition to regular brushing and flossing efforts. This reflects our dedication to taking care of smiles from childhood through adulthood and as a result, our patients can rest assured that their smile will stay looking great for life!
Who Are the Best Candidates for Dental Sealants?
While sealants are primarily thought to benefit children and teenagers most, adults without decay or fillings in their molars are also prime candidates for sealants.
Generally, sealants are ideal for children between the ages of 6 to 14, especially because these years tend to be the most cavity-prone years for children as their permanent premolars and molars come in.
It’s also important to note that children who still have their baby teeth can also benefit from dental sealants, particularly when children have deep depressions and grooves in their teeth. In fact, because baby teeth are essential in maintaining the proper spacing for permanent teeth, it’s often in the best interest of a child to get sealants when they still have baby teeth.
Do Sealants Stand the Test of Time?
Sealants are highly beneficial because they can offer protection for up to ten years after application. Of course, the sealants can chip or wear over time. However, your family or general dentist can always reapply them as necessary during regular check-ups.