Dental sealants are a preventive dental treatment that can significantly reduce the risk for cavities, and they’re available here at The Woodlands Dental Group in The Woodlands, Texas. If you’re overseeing your family’s dental health needs, you might wonder who in your family might benefit from dental sealants.
In this comprehensive guide, David Epstein, DDS, Nikita Vakil, DMD, and Leah Zils, DDS, dive into the world of dental sealants, discussing what they are, how they work, and who should consider getting them.
What are dental sealants?
Dental sealants are thin, protective coatings that are painted onto the occlusal surfaces — the chewing surfaces — of the molars and premolars and then hardened. These teeth have deep grooves and fissures where food particles and decay-causing bacteria can easily get trapped.
Sealants act as a barrier and literally seal off these vulnerable areas to prevent decay. If the bacteria that cause cavities can’t enter into the deep grooves of the molars, it’s much harder for the organisms to erode the enamel.
How do dental sealants work?
Now that we’ve explored what dental sealants are, let’s talk about how they work.
The process begins with a thorough cleaning of the surfaces of the teeth that are going to be sealed. This ensures that no food particles or bacteria will get trapped beneath the sealant.
Your provider then applies the sealant material to the teeth. It’s a painless procedure and does not require drilling or anesthesia. The material is simply brushed onto the teeth.
Your provider then uses a special curing light, which hardens the sealant and creates a strong bond with the surfaces of the teeth.
Once the sealant is in place, it provides a protective barrier that can last for several years. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, dental sealants can reduce up to 80% of cavities for two years, and up to 50% of cavities for up to four years. The sealant can be reapplied if necessary.
Who needs dental sealants?
The following groups may benefit the most from dental sealants:
Children and teenagers
Dental sealants are most commonly recommended for children and teenagers, because their newly erupted permanent teeth are the most susceptible to decay. Applying sealants to these teeth as soon as they come in can provide long-term protection during these critical years.
Adults with deep fissures
While sealants are typically associated with children, adults with deep grooves and fissures in their molars can also benefit from them. Your provider can assess your teeth and recommend sealants if necessary.
Individuals who have a high risk for cavities
People who have an increased risk for cavities, such as those who have dry mouth, poor oral hygiene habits, a sugary diet, or a history of cavities, may benefit from sealants.
Patients with braces or other orthodontic appliances often find it challenging to clean their teeth effectively. Sealants can help prevent the development of cavities in hard-to-reach places during orthodontic treatment.
Individuals with dental restorations
Sealants can also be applied to the margins of dental restorations, such as fillings or crowns, to help prevent decay at the edges.
Help your mouth in the fight against cavities
Dental sealants are a valuable preventive tool in the fight against cavities. Furthermore, you can increase the chances of fending off cavities if you also brush your teeth and floss regularly, eat a well-balanced diet, and schedule regular dental cleanings.
To learn more about dental sealants or to get any other dental care, call 281-367-3085 to book an appointment with The Woodlands Dental Group today.