Flossing and brushing are one of the best methods to stop cavities, but not every area is easy to access, especially the teeth at the back (molars). The molars are uneven, rough, and a spot where cavity-causing bacteria and leftover food particles hide.
There is another way to make sure your teeth stay clean. It is known as a sealant, which involves a protective, thin coating made from a type of plastic or a dental material. This coating goes over the chewing surfaces of the back teeth. Dental sealants do not replace flossing and brushing, but they do help to stop the development of cavities, and can even delay the earlier stages of decomposition and decay from turning into full-blown cavities.
Dental sealants can lower the risks linked to decay by as much as 80% in molars. This is even more important for dental health in children. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) sent out a report containing information on why sealants are important for children of school-going age. The report also stated that only 43% of children between the ages of 6 and 11 have dental sealants. The CDC also says that children without dental sealants have close to 3 times more holes and cavities compared to children that have sealants.
You probably have questions about dental sealants, and we have answered many of those questions below. Keep reading to find out more about how to seal out decay.
Sealants can be compared to a raincoat for the teeth. When cavity-causing bacteria that is present in the mouth comes into contact with food particles, an acid is formed that creates holes in the teeth. These holes are known as cavities. Once the sealant is applied to the teeth it keeps food particles out, stopping acid and bacteria from developing on the teeth, similar to how a raincoat will keep you warm and dry on a rainy day.
Adults and children both benefit from dental sealants, but it is recommended to try and get them as early as possible. The first molars start to appear around the age of 6, while the second molars start breaking through at around the age of 12. Sealing the molars as they emerge can help to keep these teeth cavity-free, which can help to save money and time over the years. Ask your family dentist about sealants and whether they recommend this treatment for you along with your children.
The process is painless and quick. The dentist will first dry and clean the tooth before applying a layer of acid gel over the teeth. The gel is designed to make the tooth surface rough to ensure a durable bond is formed between the sealant and the tooth. Soon after applying the acidic gel, the dentist rinses the gel off the tooth. From here the dentist will dry the tooth before applying a sealant to the natural grooves of the tooth. Blue light is then used to harden and cure the sealant.
A sealant is often used on areas where early decay has begun to prevent further damages to the tooth. Since these sealants are usually clear, the dentist can monitor the tooth to ensure the sealant is working.
With an exception of allergies that may already exist, sealants are not associated with any known side-effects.
Yes, sealants do contain very low levels of BPA, but certainly not enough that it will cause you any harm. We are more exposed to BPA by using certain cosmetics, touching receipts, or exposure to dust.
What Is The Life Expectancy Of Dental Sealants?
Dental sealants typically last for many years. During regular dental visits, dentists will monitor the sealants, and reapply a coating when necessary.
Some plans will cover dental sealants. It is recommended to contact your dental-benefit provider so that you know what is and what is not covered.