To help prevent cavities, it’s crucial to regularly brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste and floss between your teeth. Unfortunately, cleaning every crevice of your mouth can be challenging. Your teeth, particularly those molars that help you chew food while eating, have grooves that a toothbrush’s bristles can’t always clean thoroughly. As a result, germs that cause cavities and leftover food remain hidden in the little crevices of your teeth, fostering the ideal environment for dental decay. Fortunately, dental sealants are a great fix for this issue.
What Are Dental Sealants?
A dental sealant is a thin, protective coating that attaches to the chewing surface of your back teeth or molars. Cavities can be avoided by filling fissures and pits. Sealants are far more effective at preventing cavities.
How Do Dental Sealants Work?
The sugar and food particles lodged in your teeth’s fissures and grooves are filled by bacteria that cause cavities. Cavities, as they are more popularly known, are holes eventually created when they release acids that eat away at the tooth’s structure. Dental sealants can help with this: Sealants function as a thin plastic barrier that keeps food particles and germs out of the teeth’ crevices, avoiding cavities’ development. As an alternative to installing a filling, they can be used to stop decay in its earliest stages.
How Are Dental Sealants Applied?
A sealant is easily and gently applied. Your dentist can apply the sealant to each tooth in only a few minutes without anesthesia. The following is the procedure for applying dental sealants:
- Your dentist will meticulously clean the teeth that will be sealed
- Each tooth will be dried and placed in an absorbent substance such as cotton.
- The chewing surfaces of the teeth will be made rougher by using a mild “etching” solution. The sealant will adhere to the teeth better due to the uneven surfaces.
- The solution is removed after a brief period, and the tooth is dried again. The tooth’s surface pits and fissures are then coated with sealant.
- Some sealants harden in about a minute. When the dentist uses the curing light to apply the sealant, some are “light-cured” and solidify more quickly.
How Long Do Dental Sealants Last?
For up to ten years, dental sealants can help prevent tooth decay. Your dentist will, however, keep an eye on them and advise if they need to be administered again sooner.
At What Age Can Your Child Get Them?
We advise getting dental sealants for kids between six and fourteen. Your first teeth should erupt at age 6, and your second molars should start to show around age 12. Most dentists advise sealing these teeth as soon as they erupt to prevent tooth decay. In extreme circumstances, especially if the baby’s teeth have deep grooves or pitted areas, your dentist may even advise placing dental sealants over the baby’s teeth.
Should Your Child Get Sealants?
Dental sealants, as was already said, guard against tooth decay. Dental sealants can stop 80% of molar cavities, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Additionally, according to CDC data, first molar cavities are nearly three times more common in school-aged children (between the ages of six and 11) without dental sealants than in those who do. The need for future (and occasionally expensive) dental procedures like fillings and crowns can be reduced or even eliminated with early cavity prevention.
Dental sealants are worth taking if your child has an exceptionally high risk of tooth decay because the advantages exceed the disadvantages. Practicing good hygiene and a balanced diet is an excellent strategy to preserve oral health and prevent tooth decay.