Everything You Should Know About Dental Sealants

July 29, 2020

After your child’s molars appear, a dentist may offer dental sealants to help prevent decay on these hard-to-reach teeth. You may even want to consider them for yourself. However, before you decide on dental sealants, you should understand what they are, how they help, and how effective they are.

Overview of Dental Sealants 

A dental sealant is a clear, protective coat a dentist applies to teeth to protect them from decay. Basically, a sealant coats the teeth, so the acid produced by bacteria can’t harm them.

Fortunately, one application may last up to nine years, but a dentist will examine the sealant routinely to ensure a reapplication isn’t necessary sooner.

Composition of Dental Sealants 

A sealant consists of a dental-grade plastic or another safe dental material. The plastic may contain bisphenol (BPA). However, the BPA in the sealant is minimal, so you or your child won’t experience any negative effects from it.

Recommendations for Dental Sealants 

A dentist recommends a dental sealant for molars because these teeth have grooves and are difficult to take care of. As a result, molars are more likely to develop decay than other teeth. A dentist may even recommend a sealant for a tooth that has only a small amount of decay to prevent a full-blown cavity.

Moreover, a dentist may advise you to opt for a sealant once your child is between the ages of six and 12 since his or her first permanent molars erupt around the age of six. Then, the second set usually appears around the age of 12. You may also opt for dental sealants for yourself if you have little to no decay on your molars.

Effectiveness of Sealants  

Fortunately, this protective layer is shown to have benefits, as noted by the American Dental Association (ADA). In fact, this organization revealed that dental sealants have a nearly 80-percent effectiveness rate at preventing decay.

In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stated that dental sealants have the potential to protect against 80 percent of dental caries for two years. Additionally, dental sealant can prevent 50 percent of cavities for up to four years.

The CDC also reported that school-age children who don’t receive dental sealants are nearly three times more likely to develop cavities than a child who has dental sealants.

Process for Dental Sealant Application 

If you decide that dental sealants could benefit you or your child, you may request the treatment at a routine dental visit. The process only takes a few minutes to complete and is painless.

The practitioner will begin the application process with a thorough teeth cleaning and will possibly apply a gel on the teeth that will receive the sealant. The gel roughs up the surface of these teeth, so the sealant adheres better.

Then, the dentist will allow the teeth to dry completely before the sealant application. Finally, the practitioner will paint on the sealant and let it dry. Sometimes, the practitioner will use a light to enhance the hardening process.

Complications from Dental Sealants  

Fortunately, dental sealants are a safe preventive dental treatment. Some individuals experience an allergic reaction to the sealant, but this occurrence isn’t common.

At first, a dental sealant may feel awkward because you may feel it with your tongue. However, after a few days, you adjust, and the sealant isn’t noticeable.

In short, dental sealants protect against cavities for several years with little to no drawbacks. Plus, this measure is a solution for you or your child and can be incorporated into a routine dental appointment.

Protect your child’s smile and your own with a routine dental visit and sealant application. Contact Vanyo Dentistry, serving Durham, NC, and the nearby region, for an appointment today.