Brushing and flossing are two ways people protect their teeth on a regular basis, but it’s not always easy to hit all surfaces of each tooth. If you can’t effectively clean these surfaces, especially your molars that are responsible for the majority of your chewing, food particles can build up and lead to plaque or cavities.
That being said, brushing and flossing aren’t the only ways you can protect your teeth surfaces. Dental professionals offer what’s known as dental sealant, and as the name implies, it’s a protective coating that is applied to your teeth and prevents decay and cavity formation. Below, we take a closer look at dental sealants, and explain how they can help keep your teeth healthy.
The Benefits of Dental Sealants
Sealants are a great way to protect your teeth and keep them healthy as you age. One study revealed that sealants have been found to reduce the risk of tooth decay by almost 80 percent, while a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that children without sealants were three times more likely to develop cavities compared to their peers who had sealant on their teeth.
Sealants are available to both children and adults, but the earlier you get them on your permanent teeth, the better. Most kids are ready for sealants at age 6 for their first permanent molars and around the age of 12 for their second permanent molars. Sealing the teeth earlier can help keep them cavity-free long into adulthood. Your dentist will probably ask you about sealants if your child is nearing the appropriate age, but you can also bring it up to them on your next visit.
The sealant application process is quick and painless. It begins with the dentist cleaning and drying your teeth before applying a dental gel to your teeth. This dental gel roughs up the tooth’s surface while simultaneously creating the perfect environment for the sealant to create a strong bond with the teeth. The gel is removed after a couple of seconds, your teeth are again dried, and the sealant is then applied to the grooves of your teeth. A special light is then placed over the tooth for a moment in order to help the sealant harden.
Here are some other quick notes about dental sealant:
- Sealants can be placed over cavities or areas with previous tooth decay to prevent future problems.
- There are no known side effects to sealants, although in very rare cases, there might be a minor allergic reaction to the sealant.
- Sealants typically last for a 3-5 years before a retreatment is recommended. Your dentist will check the sealant strength during regular checkups.
- Some sealants are covered under dental plans, so call your insurer to see if you’re covered if you have any questions about cost.
Sealants are a great way to protect against future teeth issues, so talk to your dentist today about having the quick sealant procedure performed. Dr. Brooks has performed countless sealant procedures for patients, and he’d be happy to talk about your options. Contact his office today.
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