Dental sealants are an impressive preventative dental measure used to protect the teeth from cavities, yet they are one of the most underused measures. Patients of all ages can benefit from dental sealants because these sealants “seal out” harmful bacteria, acids, and sugars that threaten the health of the teeth on a daily basis. Often thought of as a prevention for children, adults can benefit from dental sealants just as much.
Dental sealants are plastic coatings that are painted on the molars and pre-molars in order to add a protective layer above the deep pits and fissures of these back teeth. Bacterial buildup frequently occurs in these back teeth because of how tiny and how far down the grooves in these teeth can reach. While brushing twice a day, flossing daily, and making regular visits to the dentist a priority, they are often not enough to completely protect the teeth from decay. Floss is not intended to clean the deep surfaces of the back teeth, and toothbrush bristles are not thin enough to reach down into the deep fissures where bacteria thrive. Food bits easily become trapped in the molars and pre-molars. As these foods begin to decompose, tiny particles become trapped inside the deep pits causing a great deal of damage. The placement of dental sealants offers a protection by preventing any type of damaging substance from entering into the pits of the back teeth.
There is no pain associated with the application of dental sealants, and they are extremely quick to have applied. Following a dental cleaning, the back teeth are thoroughly dried, and the sealant material is painted onto the teeth. The special material seeps into the tiny fissures, grooves, and pits of the back teeth in order to create a protective barrier against harmful substances. Once the sealant material has been applied, a special curing light is then used to harden the material so that it bonds successfully with the teeth. As long as dental sealants remain in place, the back teeth are adequately protected from decay. This protection is especially helpful for children who are not always the best at brushing their teeth. This protection is also beneficial for adults whose permanent molars have the same deep grooves. Dental sealants typically last for 2-4 years before reapplication is needed, and your dentist will check them at each visit.
Dental sealants are worth your time and money because they prevent costly damage and decay. This simple form of prevention can help your smile stay healthy.