The chewing surfaces of back teeth such as premolars and molars have many grooves that can trap food and create decay in those crevasses. In order to protect the enamel from getting decayed, sealants are the first line of defense.
What Are Dental Sealants?
Sealants are a thin layer of liquid, similar to paint, that gets brushed on the chewing surfaces of the back molars and premolars. That protective layer prevents those teeth from getting decay.
How Do Dental Sealants Work?
This material works by bonding to the teeth and shielding the surface of the tooth with a protective cover. Bacteria that lingers after a meal creates acid that can damage your teeth. Sealants prevent that acid from penetrating your enamel. Think of dental sealants as a biohazard suit for your teeth.
What's the Process of Getting Dental Sealants?
This process is fast and easy, and most importantly for kids and their parents, it's completely painless. First, the dentist starts by cleaning the teeth. A professional cleaning ensures that no bacteria gets trapped underneath the sealant. Then, the dentist applies some special etching gel.
That prepares the surface of the tooth so that the dental sealant will stick to it. The gel sits on the tooth for less than a minute. Finally, the dentist paints on the dental sealant and holds a curing light on it until it dries.
How Long Do Dental Sealants Last?
Dental sealants can last up to ten years as long as you brush on a regular basis. You don't ever have to get them removed. Rather, this protective layer just slowly wears off over time.
As they are primarily used for kids, the idea is that by the time the sealants wear off, the child will be old enough to really pay attention to oral hygiene. Additionally, their motor skills will have improved to the point that they can easily brush their back teeth. However, if necessary, your dentist can re-apply the dental sealants.
Do Dental Sealants Help Kids?
Dental sealants are used mainly in children. That's because kids are usually not as compliant and effective in brushing and maintaining their dental health compared to adults. Sealants can help prevent 80 percent of cavities in the back teeth of children. In fact, the CDC released a report in 2016 stating that “school-age children (ages 6-11) without sealants have almost 3 times more first molar cavities than those with sealants.”
Can Adults Get Dental Sealants?
Dental sealants aren't just for kids. Adults can also get them. If you are particularly prone to cavities or if you just want some extra protection for your teeth, you may want to talk with your dentist about sealants.
Similarly, seniors who are having trouble maintaining oral hygiene for any reason (for example, arthritis is making it hard to brush effectively in the back of their mouth) may also want to get information about dental sealants.
If you’re interested in your children receiving dental sealants, or if you may need them yourself, please give us a call today at 404-400-0400 or contact us online. We look forward to meeting with you and your family!