Dental sealants are protective barriers that prevent cavities from forming. They are made from plastic materials and applied to the chewing surfaces of teeth in the back of the mouth. They quickly and effectively bond to the grooves of teeth so that enamel gains added protection. When dried, sealants appear invisible. Since they are extremely thin and only fill deep crevices, they often go undetected by the tongue as well.
Even though all dentists recommend brushing and flossing to clear away debris, it is not always possible to reach crevices on the back teeth. Unlike some dental services, there is no anesthetic involved with this procedure.
Who Should Consider Sealants?
Since decay is likely to develop in molars and premolars, sealants are often applied to older children and teens. In certain cases, adults with large amounts of decay may opt for sealants as well. Consulting with a dentist will help a person decide whether or not to receive this treatment.
How Does a Dentist Apply a Sealant?
After teeth are thoroughly cleaned and dried, sealants are painted onto the enamel. Bonding occurs immediately, and a curing light is used to hasten the hardening process. Once applied, they can protect teeth for up to 10 years. If chips occur, it is possible to have the sealants reapplied.
Reasons to Consider Sealants:
The most popular reason to receive sealants is to prevent tooth decay. Although brushing protects smooth surfaces of front teeth, back teeth need more protection. As sealants keep decay away, patients do not have to waste time in a dentist's office receiving costly dental repairs.
Back teeth contain rough and uneven surfaces. The small pits and grooves help chew food effectively. However, these allow crumbs to become stuck. Since it can be difficult to reach these areas with a toothbrush, decay commonly develops. Sealants keep these problems away.
When to Get Sealants:
In most cases, children should receive sealants on permanent molars as soon as teeth emerge. This provides protection from the beginning so that teeth remain free of cavities. First permanent molars cut the gums between ages five and seven. Second permanent molars come in at approximately age 12. If a dentist detects deep pits in young children's teeth, sealants may be applied earlier.
Hoffman Dental strives to help all patients maintain a healthy mouth. Even though sealants prevent cavities from forming on back teeth, it is still important to brush each day and practice a regular oral maintenance plan. Since sealants are considered preventative measures, they are often covered by most insurance plans. For more information, schedule an appointment today.