What Is A Dental Sealant?
PROTECT AGAINST CAVITIES AND DECAY WITH DENTAL SEALANTS
Look at your back teeth for a minute. The tops of your molars and premolars are rough, bumpy, and full of crevices that can trap food particles, plaque, tartar, and bacteria. These are the things that lead to cavities and other dental problems. Fortunately, there is a simple preventive treatment to help protect your back teeth — dental sealants. A flexible plastic material, dental sealants can be applied to the tops of the premolars and molars to create a protective barrier between the enamel and damaging plaque and bacteria. A quick, noninvasive procedure, dental sealants can be a part of a preventive treatment plan created by your dentist in Forest Park, IL that protects your teeth from cavities for years. To help both parents of children who may benefit from dental sealants as well as adults, our team of dental professionals at DentalWorks - Forest Park has developed a short guide on dental sealants. This article will help you determine if you or your family may benefit from dental sealants, what happens during the dental sealant application procedure, and what to do after you get dental sealants.
WHAT DENTAL SEALANTS DO
One of the most common forms of cavities are pit and fissure dental caries. Cavities are formed when plaque and bacteria start to decay (erode) the enamel on the outside of the tooth. Daily brushing and mouthwash can help to remove plaque and bacteria before it turns into a cavity, but sometimes this is not enough. The pits and grooves on the tops of your premolars and molars trap plaque and bacteria, which leads to pit and fissure cavities. Dental sealants are a clear barrier that is placed over the tops of the back teeth. This protects the enamel from food debris, plaque, tartar, and bacteria so it can't turn into cavities. When applied correctly, dental sealants shouldn't be seen or felt, but you will notice a difference with better dental exams and fewer cavities.
DENTAL SEALANTS FOR CHILDREN
Before they are teenagers, children will lose their baby teeth and get their permanent set of teeth. This is problematic because, with very few exceptions, most parents have trouble getting their children to brush their teeth twice a day every day like they are supposed to. This is one of the reasons children are more susceptible to cavities. Dental sealants are a good way to help protect children's back molars while they develop good oral health habits. Ideally, dental sealants should be placed on the primary premolars and molars between the age of 5 – 7 years old and then again after the permanent molars and premolars have erupted from the gumline, typically around 11 – 14 years old. Although many children don't like sitting in the dentist's chair for an optional procedure, like dental sealants, it can save them from more procedures, like tooth-colored fillings, by minimizing their risk of cavities. Plus, once a cavity forms in the enamel, it will require a lifetime of treatment since tooth-colored fillings wear out and will need to be replaced every 5 – 20 years.
DENTAL SEALANTS FOR ADULTS
While dental sealants are more often recommended for children, adults may also be good candidates. Although adults are generally better about brushing and flossing every day, they can still have lapses and even the most diligent brusher is still at risk of getting cavities. Dental sealants can be a good choice for adults who are prone to cavities. While dental sealants are typically not covered by dental insurance for adults, it can be a good investment to help you avoid other expensive treatments, like tooth-colored fillings and crowns. Most dentists don't talk to their adult patients about dental sealants, so if you are interested you should bring it up during your annual oral health examination. You may also want to talk to your dentist about getting professional fluoride treatments after your bi-annual cleanings to help strengthen your enamel. Like dental sealants, fluoride treatments are generally performed on younger patients, but they can be helpful for adults and are easy to ask for.
GETTING DENTAL SEALANTS
Dental sealants are typically applied after a professional cleaning since your enamel is clean and free of buildup. The application of dental sealants is a quick, noninvasive procedure, so anesthesia is not necessary, but it can be added if you have dental fears or anxiety. The clean teeth will be dried and lightly etched to prepare it for the dental sealant. The dental sealant is applied as a liquid and carefully brushed on to the tops of the molars and premolars. Once the sealant is in place, a special light is used to quickly bond the material to your teeth. Your team will check to make sure the sealant is smooth and hard before they rinse off your mouth and discuss aftercare instructions.
AFTER YOU GET DENTAL SEALANTS
Once your dental sealants are set, you can leave and continue your normal day. Unless you also get a fluoride treatment, you should be able to eat and drink right away. While dental sealants reduce your risk of pit and fissure cavities, you still need to follow a good home oral care routine to prevent other types of cavities and dental problems. You should brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss at least once a day. If you have questions about technique or what products to use, speak to your dentist. You still need to get an annual oral health examination and bi-annual professional cleanings at your dentist in Forest Park, IL. During your examination, your dentist will assess your sealants and help you decide if they need to be re-done. With proper care, dental sealants can last up to ten years. Small chips or worn areas can usually be repaired as needed with more sealant material during regular appointments.
MAKE SURE YOUR FAMILY IS PROTECTED WITH DENTAL SEALANTS
If you're interested in dental sealants for yourself or your children, schedule a consultation with your dentist in Forest Park, IL. If you're looking for an excellent dental practice with experience and modern equipment to make procedures easier, contact DentalWorks - Forest Park. Our team of dental professionals takes great care of patients of all ages in Forest Park, IL with preventive dental care like oral health examinations, professional cleanings, and dental sealants. Contact our dental office in Forest Park, IL to schedule your consultation so our team can assess your oral health and develop your custom preventive treatment plan that may include dental sealants.
* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.