Cavity prevention isn’t just brushing and flossing, it’s also having preventive dentistry procedures that help reduce the opportunities for cavities to form. Dental sealants are one such procedure, appropriate for both children and adults, and can combat the problems that arise from tooth decay.
The team at Dynamic Smile Design performs these procedures regularly. To help you decide if dental sealants are right for you, let’s explore the process and the benefits of this preventive dentistry procedure.
What Are Dental Sealants?
Dental sealants are a solution to tooth decay, non-invasive preventive medicine that creates a barrier against cavities. Sealants are a plastic material that covers the surface of the tooth, generally the molars, filling in some of the deeper recesses of the tooth surface that are hard to clean while maintaining the chewing surface and capability of the tooth. The barrier reduces decay by preventing food and bacteria from corroding the surface of the tooth.
What Kind of Patients Can Use Dental Sealants?
Dental sealants are primarily used for children and teenagers, although preventive dentistry patients of any age can benefit from them. They’re especially beneficial to prevent tooth decay in children, as children may have a more difficult time reaching their molars when brushing. However, because sealants cover the surface of the tooth, they can’t be used if decay is already in place.
Are Dental Sealants Right For Adults?
Tooth decay can lead to tooth loss for adults, and in fact, is the leading cause of this. Poor dental hygiene contributes to cavities, but genetics can play a role in tooth decay, too. If your teeth naturally have deep valleys and groves, then cavities are more likely to form.
Many people wonder how effective dental sealants are for them, and how they can help reduce tooth decay. Every patient is different, and your dentist can tell you about how effective you can expect your sealants to be.
About 25% of adults have untreated tooth decay, according to research conducted among professional dentists. What you eat and drink, including sugary sodas, how often you brush and floss, and whether or not you have dental cleaning twice a year also are factors that affect whether or not you have tooth decay.
Pros and Cons of Dental Sealant
Preventive dentistry is often much less expensive and time consuming than treating cavities and decay. However, like any other medical procedure, there are drawbacks, as well. We’re looking at the pros and cons of dental sealants.
- Dental sealant procedures often cost very little for adults and children
- Sealants offer a more than 80% chance of preventing decay in your pre-molars and molars
- Sealants are minimally invasive, and not visible in your mouth
- Sealants aren’t 100% effective at cavity prevention. Proper oral hygiene is also important
- Dental sealants aren’t permanent and must be replaced every five to ten years
- There may be some risk of covering existing decay with the etching gel, which can cause problems later
Dental Sealants for Children
Children may be some of the best candidates for dental sealants, and this procedure can boost your child’s dental health and reduce the occurrence of tooth decay. The process is safe and effective and can last for up to nine years. Often, the child loses the tooth before the sealant needs to be replaced.
One of the best ways to improve your children’s dental health and protect their teeth from decay is through the use of sealants. It can be used for any part of your child’s teeth, including those in sensitive areas.
Children also tend to be less careful and thorough than adults when it comes to brushing their teeth. Preventive dentistry can help until their oral hygiene habits improve as a result.
How Do Dental Sealants Work?
Dental sealants ensure that there are no breeding grounds for bacteria in the mouth and reduce the risk of tooth decay for both children and adults. They work by preventing the accumulation of plaque and food debris in sensitive areas of the mouth, and in hard-to-reach areas for brushing. It’s also more cost-effective than having a cavity filled, losing a tooth due to decay, or having a dental implant to replace a lost tooth.
The Dental Sealant Procedure
You’re probably convinced of the benefits of dental sealants, but confused about how the process works. Well, it’s fairly straightforward, painless, and doesn’t require any type of drilling or medication.
Preparing the Tooth
This is the first step before the sealing process begins. First, the surface of the tooth is cleaned and polished, to remove any debris and plaque from the area that the sealant will be applied. Then, the dentist dries the tooth and isolates it from the others. Next, the dentist etches the tooth’s surface, which involves the use of an acidic substance that prepares the tooth’s surface for the sealant to adhere to. When this is done, the tooth is once again washed and dried.
Applying the Sealant
The sealant is applied carefully with a small brush. Once that’s done, then a dental curing light is directed at the surface of the tooth for 30 seconds to glue the sealant to the surface of the tooth.
At this point, the dentist checks the sealant to make sure it’s hardened enough and ready for use. There may be some adjustments at this point. Once the procedure is complete, make sure to follow any aftercare instructions from your dentist, including how long to wait before drinking or eating.
Schedule Your Appointment Today!
Dental sealants and preventive dentistry can benefit anyone, from children to older adults. It’s a great way to reduce your chances of having cavities form and can be more cost-effective and less painful than treating the effects of decay. If you think you’re a good candidate for dental sealants, give the Dynamic Smiles Design team a call so we can help you have a healthier smile!