What are dental sealants?
So, dental sealants sound great, but what are they? Dental sealants are essentially a tooth colored shield that help to keep food particles and decay causing bacteria out of the cracks and fissures of your teeth. We are only able to place them in the molars.
Some people have teeth that tend to harbor food particles, usually because of their shape. During the day, as these food particles build up, the bacteria in the mouth can react with them and start to produce decay causing conditions. With dental sealants we place a solid barrier between the tooth and the bacteria/food that allows the teeth a great layer of protection.
What are they made of?
Most sealants are made of either a resin based solution or glass ionomer. The current generation of sealants have the ability to release fluoride over time, further protecting teeth.
Who are dental sealants for?
Most commonly dental sealants are offered to kids who are at a high risk of developing cavities. That doesn’t mean that dental sealants aren’t for adults, it’s just a procedure that is less typical for adults to receive. The answer to the question is, anyone who needs extra protection from cavities.
Kids have a tendency to eat a great deal more sugar than adults. Couple that with the fact that kids tend to be a little less responsible with their normal oral hygiene routine and you start to see why dental sealants are most popular with kids.
There are plenty of adults who have and request dental sealants because they have a hard time with cavities, many times because they have a genetic predisposition to them.
The important thing to keep in mind when considering or receiving dental sealants is, just because you have dental sealants doesn’t mean you can forgo good oral hygiene. Remember, only your molars can be protected, your other teeth are still wide open to cavities. Gum disease doesn’t care about dental sealants at all and can weaken teeth to the point of failure without regular brushing and flossing. Dental sealants only last a few years before falling off or cracking and its often very difficult for the lay person to realize they are no longer there.
The bottom line is, dental sealants are only an auxiliary layer of protection against cavities, not a fix all.
How long do they last?
Dental sealants can last up to ten years, which is a pretty impressive lifetime in the dental industry. However, there are no guarantees that they will last that long. It’s important to continue coming in to have routine cleanings and exams done so that we can check on the status of your dental sealants.
Dental Sealants Versus Fillings
The choice should be clear, dental sealants all the way! No one should consider getting a cavity over getting a dental sealant. You only get one set of permanent teeth in your life. They have to last many decades, and tooth replacement options are expensive. Some people think that baby teeth aren’t worth saving, but so many studies have shown otherwise.
Dental Cleanings and Examinations
Please remember to come to our office at least twice a year for your professional cleaning and exams. During this time, we can check your sealants for cracks and repair them if they need to be repaired or if they have failed.
If you think you or your child may need dental sealants, your next regular examination is the perfect time to bring it to our attention. We can discuss what it would entail and how much it would cost, there’s a chance we could even do it that day!
Please call us today at (503) 350-1234 to schedule an appointment for your or your children. Remember, if you experience tooth sensitivity for more than a week, you should come in to be seen as this could be the sign of a more serious issue.