When you were younger, you may have had dental sealants placed onto your back teeth to prevent decay. Now that you are an adult, you aren’t automatically ruled out of candidacy for sealants. By better understanding these dental treatments, you can make an informed decision about whether or not sealants are right for you.
What Exactly Are Dental Sealants?
A dental sealant is a thin film of plastic that bonds to the chewing surfaces of the molars and premolars. They work to prevent tooth decay by acting as a physical barrier to block acid and bacteria from affecting the teeth. In some cases, they will provide complete protection so long as they stay intact, and research has found that they can actually stop a cavity from progressing if placed on top of a tooth with slight decay, as the action blocks nutrients from reaching the cavity.
Who Should Get Dental Sealants?
Children and teens are the most obvious candidates of dental sealants, as they tend to have the most difficulty with decay. The depressions and grooves of the back teeth have a high likelihood of developing decay, and since younger people don’t always have the best oral hygiene, it is logical that they should have dental sealants put into place as soon as the back teeth come in. This way, the sealants will protect the teeth during the most cavity-prone time of their lives.
Sealants might also be good options for adults who want to avoid tooth decay. Adults without decay or fillings in their back teeth might be good candidates, and there are several reasons that adults should consider sealants:
-Prevent decay. There is never a wrong time to protect your teeth from tooth decay, and you’ll never be immune to it. Dental sealants can reduce the occurrence of cavities by protecting your teeth.
-Semi-permanent. Dental sealants are semi-permanent, and they can protect your teeth for up to ten years. After that, they may need to be reapplied.
-Prevent the buildup of food. Sealants can also prevent food build up on the surface of the teeth, especially in the pits and grooves of the molars.
If any of these benefits sound of interest to you, please talk to us about applying dental sealants at your next appointment.
How Are Dental Sealants Applied?
Another great benefit of getting dental sealants is that the process is quick and painless, and it can be completed in a single visit to our office. In fact, it only takes a few minutes for us to apply the sealant to each tooth using the following process:
-We clean each tooth thoroughly, so we often add the sealants after you’ve had your regularly-scheduled dental cleaning with one of our hygienists.
-We dry the tooth, and then cotton is placed around the tooth to ensure it stays dry until the process is completed.
-An acidic solution is put onto the grooves and chewing surfaces to roughen up the tooth. This helps the sealant to adhere to the tooth.
-The tooth is rinsed and dried again before the sealant is painted onto the enamel. It will bond to the tooth and harden into place.
You’ll want to avoid eating and drinking for a little while after the placement of your sealants, but after that, they should offer no inconvenience to your life.
Whether you are interested in dental sealants or you’d like to discuss other ways to keep your teeth healthy, we are here to help. The first step is to make an appointment in our office. You can do this by either calling us at 479-646-0706 or scheduling an appointment using of convenient web form. A friendly office staff member will be with you shortly.