According to the CDC, about 20% of children aged between 5 and 11 years old and 13% of adolescents aged between 12 and 19 have at least one untreated cavity. Dental sealants are one way to prevent tooth decay in not just children but adults as well. At Singing River Dentistry, and we can assess the condition of your teeth and may recommend dental sealants if your teeth are at high risk of cavities.
What is a Dental Sealant?
A dental sealant is a thin plastic coating that adheres to your tooth enamel and serves as a physical barrier against bacteria and your tooth. The sealant is in putty form and is applied to the chewing surface of your back teeth in layers where it hardens into plastic and adds a layer of protection against cavities.
Why is There a Need for Dental Sealants?
The chewing surfaces of your molars and premolars have deep and fine pits and fissures. Food debris and plaque can easily get stuck in these cracks, but it is not as easy to remove since these grooves are narrower than the bristles of your toothbrush. If bacterial plaque is allowed to accumulate inside these fissures, it can lead to tooth decay. In addition, the chewing motion of your back teeth exerts a great deal of pressure on the surface, leading to more wear and tear of your teeth and exposing them to infection.
Dental sealants provide a smooth surface for chewing and prevent food from getting stuck in your teeth.
The first dental sealant is applied to your permanent molar and premolars once they have completely erupted. Coupled with the use of fluoride toothpaste, your teeth will remain strong and healthy.
Who is a Good Candidate for Dental Sealants?
People of all ages are good candidates for dental sealants. Children between the ages of six and 14 are more vulnerable to tooth decay since they are prone to consuming sugary and acidic food, so dental sealants are an effective preventive dental measure for them.
Adults who are also at high risk of tooth decay can get dental sealants. In some cases, we may also recommend dental sealants on baby teeth if their fissures have deepened. The primary teeth play a crucial role in keeping your adult teeth healthy, and if the baby teeth decay or are lost too early, it can have a negative impact on your child's permanent teeth.
Keep in mind, though, that sealants can only be applied to healthy teeth and teeth without dental restorations.
Are Dental Sealants Permanent?
Dental sealants can last for several years, but they are not permanent. Typically, sealants can keep your teeth protected for up to 10 years. During your routine dental exam, it is important that you get your dental sealants checked for tears and cracks. If necessary, we can re-apply them.
Dental Sealant Aftercare
Just because you have dental sealants does not mean you can afford to neglect to brush and floss your teeth. Keep in mind that dental sealants only protect the chewing surface of your molars and premolars. The sides of your back teeth, as well as all of your front teeth, are still vulnerable to bacteria. Proper oral hygiene at home is essential for the continued health of your teeth. In addition, you should also take care not to miss your routine dental checkups and cleaning.
Schedule an Appointment
If you are concerned about cavities, reach out to us today by calling 256-712-2240 and scheduling an appointment with and . We will examine your teeth and determine whether dental sealants are the best choice for your teeth.