What Are Dental Sealants?

dental sealants

Good dental care also includes good preventative dental measures. Dentists can apply dental sealants in the office. Of course, good dental hygiene at home is important. and these products work by sealing off the chewing surfaces and fissures, usually in molars, and this preventative measure helps reduce the risk of cavities. Even though these sealants may be used on people of almost any age, they are particularly suggested for children who have just grown in their permanent teeth.

How Do Dental Sealants Reduce The Risk Of Cavities?

First, it is helpful to learn about which teeth are used to chew the most. Those would be the molars. However, the way these teeth are formed makes them difficult to protect with regular brushing and fluoride treatments. Because of the chewing surface, these teeth are also rather irregular.

They tend to be the most prone to have plaque accumulate. In turn, this plaque encourages tooth decay, or cavities.

Also, because it is harder for these teeth to get protected, they are more prone to mineral loss. Teeth actually can gain minerals, but the bacteria from fermenting food may mean that more tooth enamel gets lost than gained. Of course, this is a particularly bad problem from people who do not take the time to get their teeth cleaned, brush, and floss. That is why children are especially good candidates for dental sealants.

How Do Tooth Sealants Work?

These sealants are a type of plastic. They get brushed on the teeth and allowed to harden. They form a barrier between teeth and bacteria. This is usually done right after teeth get professionally cleaned in a dentist’s office.

The procedure does not hurt at all, and it only takes a few minutes. It is also a much less expensive treatment than getting most tooth repair done. Many good dental insurance companies will pay for this procedure because insurance actuaries know that it saves them a lot more money than it costs. That should be a good tip for parents who wonder if they should have this procedure performed on their own children.

The good thing about dental sealants is that they also make the surface of the tooth much more smooth. This means that other protective measures, like fluoride and brushing, are more likely to help keep the surface clean.

When To Get Sealants Applied?

As mentioned above, these tooth coatings can get applied to the teeth of people of almost any age. While anybody might ask their dentist if a sealant coating would be helpful to themselves or their children, many modern dentists will suggest the procedure for younger children who have just gotten their shiny new permanent molars.

In most kids, this will be by thirteen years of age, but in some children, it happens earlier. As a note, the third molars, also called “wisdom” teeth, may not appear until people are over 17. Sometimes they don’t appear until age 23. Still, there is no need to wait for wisdom to appear to apply the coating to the first and second molars.

Parents who schedule regular dental appointments probably don’t have to worry about checking a calendar or counting birthdays because the dental office will have a record of new permanent teeth that appear.

Why Consider Preventative Dentistry?

It’s a lot better to consider preventative dental treatments than risk cavities and even worse problems. First, the preventative measure is painless and that is not always true of filling cavities or even pulling teeth. Regular checkups, good oral hygiene, and preventative dentistry can reduce the need for emergency dentistry, and that’s a good thing!

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