Dental sealants are a great way to add a protective barrier between the surfaces of your teeth and harmful decay-causing bacteria. The biting surfaces of molars have many small grooves where bacteria can conveniently accumulate, leading to decay and destruction. Sealants are a practical way to help protect your smile. Here are six incredible benefits sealants offer and how your teeth can benefit.
Sealants Are Suitable For All Ages
Contrary to what many believe, sealants are not only useful in children. While it is true that children are the most common age demographic for the treatment, anyone can share the same benefits. Permanent teeth of older patients are also riddled with small grooves that need to be covered to protect the tooth from bacteria.
They Protect Against Cavities
Dental sealants help protect teeth from cavities by covering the molar's top with a "tooth-colored" plastic. This additional layer of protection makes it difficult for bacteria to remain on the surface of a tooth.
The process of applying dental sealants is painless and does not involve any alterations to the tooth's surface. To apply sealants, the teeth are thoroughly cleaned to remove any hidden food particles or plaque. Once cleaned, the teeth are dried, and a small amount of gel is placed on the teeth to help with the bonding process. The tooth is then rinsed and dried again. The dental sealant will then be painted onto the chewing surface of the tooth. During the sealant process, all pits and crevices are filled in, and the tooth will be cured to make the sealant permanent. With proper care, dental sealants can last between five and ten years.
They Reduce Deep Grooves
Molars have deeper grooves and depressions on the surfaces, making them more challenging to clean. No matter how well you brush, toothbrush bristles can't reach all the groves and depressions located on the chewing surfaces of your teeth. Most unreachable spots are primed for plaque and food particles to collect. It is also easier for bacteria and food debris to build up in these deep areas. Eventually, these deep grooves will lead to a tooth experiencing some degree of dental decay. Dental sealants prevent decay from developing in these vulnerable areas.
The Process is Quick and Painless
The process of applying dental sealants is a simple one. The teeth are cleaned and prepared for the sealant material to be applied. Teeth are prepared by using a mild solution that is similar in strength to lemon juice or vinegar. This slightly roughens the surface of each tooth to help the sealant material bond properly to the tooth. Once the tooth has been prepared, the acrylic sealant is then applied to the tooth or teeth. The sealant material can flow into depressions or grooves on a tooth and fills them in. It is then allowed to harden for 1-2 minutes, at which time the tooth will become sealed and protected from bacteria collecting in the pits and grooves.
Applying sealants during childhood will protect the teeth throughout the most cavity-prone years because sealants can last for many years with proper care. Sealants will last longer if you maintain good oral hygiene and avoid biting hard objects. During routine dental visits, the dentist will check the sealants and may recommend re-application or repair when necessary.
Sealants Can Save You Money
Besides being a fast and painless solution for protecting a child's teeth, sealants are also much more cost-effective than dental restorations. Most dental insurance companies include sealants in the list of treatments covered under most general policies. Preventing the need for expensive and painful cavities at a fraction of the cost makes dental sealants the preventative choice for children.
Ready To Experience The Benefits of Sealants?
While sealants can do an exceptional job in protecting your teeth, sealants do not take the place of excellent oral hygiene practices, regular dental cleanings, and exams, or healthy eating habits.
During an evaluation, your dentist can determine if you or your child would benefit from sealants. Once candidacy is confirmed, sealants can often be applied to the teeth during the same dental appointment as an exam or cleaning. In addition to being fast and painless, sealants are much more cost-effective than dental restorations. Most dental insurance companies include sealants in the list of treatments covered under most general insurance policies.
To learn more about dental sealants and other helpful ways to prevent cavities, contact Tompkins Dental.