Dental sealants are thin plastic coatings applied on the chewing facades of the premolars and molars as a defensive stratagem against tooth decay. The sealant quickly adheres into the pits and fissures of the teeth to form a protective shield over the enamel of each tooth.
Brushing and flossing can undoubtedly remove food particles and plaque from the smooth surfaces of the teeth. Unfortunately, brushing cannot get into all the nooks and crannies of the back teeth to eliminate food and plaque from the smooth surfaces. Dental sealants protect these vulnerable spots from tooth decay by sealing out food and plaque.
Who Are Dental Sealants for?
Children and teenagers are prime candidates for dental sealants because the likelihood of developing tooth decay in the pits and fissures of the premolars and molars is high among them. Dental sealants for adults are also available so long as they don’t have any decay or fillings in their molars. Adults also benefit from dental sealants if they don’t have restorations on their teeth.
Generally, children should get sealants on their perpetual molars and premolars soon as they emerge. The dental sealants can protect children’s teeth through the cavity-prone ages of 6 to 14.
Dental sealants are also appropriate for baby teeth if a child has deep depressions and includes. Baby teeth have a significant role to play in holding the correct spacing for permanent teeth. Therefore it is essential to keep their teeth healthy to ensure they are not lost too early.
The Application of Dental Sealants
The dental sealant procedure is straightforward and painless. Dentists or hygienists only require a few minutes to apply the dental sealant to seal each tooth. The application process for tooth sealants is as follows:
- Initially, each targeted tooth to be sealed is cleaned by the dentist or hygienist.
- The tooth is dried with cotton or other material put around it to keep it dry.
- An etching solution is applied on the tooth’s chewing surfaces to roughen it up, helping the sealant adhere to the tooth.
- The tooth or teeth are again rinsed and dried.
- Finally, the dental sealant is painted onto the tooth enamel, where it adheres directly to the tooth and hardens. Dentists may use ultraviolet light to help the dental glue harden.
The Lifespan of Dental Sealants
Dental sealants can protect the teeth from decay for nearly ten years. However, they need checking for chipping and wearing during regular dental checkups. Dentists can replace dental sealants as required.
What Protection Is Provided by Dental Sealants?
After the initial application, dental sealants protect the teeth from 80 percent of tooth decay and cavities for up to two years. The protection continues for another four years against 50 percent of tooth decay and cavities. The sealants remain on the teeth for up to a decade, protecting children’s molars during the cavity-prone ages.
Dental sealants are a safe and effective method of protecting children’s back teeth from tooth decay and cavities. Children without sealants often report lost school time because they cannot eat, sleep, or perform other activities because of painful conditions.
Besides being safe and effective dental sealants are also affordable, costing merely $ 30-$ 60 per tooth. Insurance companies cover the costs of adhesives for patients younger than 18, and discount plans can reduce the prices further.
Getting children’s teeth protected by dental sealants shouldn’t be a concern for parents, especially if their children are prone to cavities and need expensive treatments from dentists. The cost of having sealants applied is fewer dollars and the expenditure involved in treating or restoring a tooth. It is why the CDC promotes dental sealants as an effective remedy for children soon as their molars develop at six, 12, and 18.
Research available indicates that children with sealants are 43 percent less likely to develop tooth decay or cavities but belong to higher-income households. Children from lower-income families are frequently visiting dentists seeking therapeutic treatments for their teeth.
The availability of dental sealants in no way provides children the freedom to neglect brushing and flossing. Parents must ensure they teach their children the value of excellent dental hygiene by brushing twice a day and flossing at least once. Incorporating regular dental visits for exams and cleanings also helps strengthen the child’s oral health by preventing the development of infectious conditions in their mouths.