Dental Sealants can help prevent cavities and tooth decay in children as well as adults. A U.S. government report said 52% of children from 6 to 8 years old have had cavities in their baby teeth.
Preventing cavities means avoiding pain and infections that can affect eating, playing, speaking, and learning. Children with poor oral health are likely to be absent from school more often and typically have lower grades than kids with good oral health.
Dental sealants are a coating made of a composite resin, a thin but durable plastic. The coating is applied to the surface of the teeth to fill in deep grooves. Some sealants are in liquid form that hardens by itself. Other sealants require a special light to seal them into the teeth.
A dental sealant is applied to the back teeth — the molars and premolars. These teeth have ridges and grooves that the sealant fills for protection against cavities. Brushing molars and premolars is more difficult as they are hard-to-reach teeth and have deeper grooves than other teeth. A layer of protection on these back teeth can prevent bacteria from hiding in these deep grooves.
To apply sealants, teeth are first cleaned and roughened with a gel solution to create a surface ready to bond with the sealant. After rinsing and drying the teeth, the sealant is then applied to the tooth enamel. The sealant application process is quick and painless, with no local anesthesia needed.
Each state dictates who can apply dental sealants, which include dentists and dental hygienists. The sealant application can be done in a dental office, but can also be applied in community settings, like schools, if portable equipment is available.
Kids may feel as if they’re biting onto something immediately after their teeth’s sealant application. This odd feeling disappears after a few days.
Depending on the type of sealant you receive, it can last from two to four years. Good dental hygiene and regular dental visits may extend the life of your sealants.
In a nutshell, here are the benefits of dental sealants:
Tooth decay barrier: Dental sealants prevent the accumulation of food particles and bacteria in the deep grooves and pits of the teeth.
Cavity prevention: Sealants shield the teeth’s enamel from acids that bacteria create from food bits often left in the mouth and teeth.
Convenient application: It takes just one appointment to have a dental sealant applied by a dental professional. The painless process takes just about 30 minutes and has long-lasting benefits.
Cost-effective: Sealants average $50-$65 per tooth before insurance, which can save money in the long run. Costlier and more painful dental procedures can be avoided with dental sealant application.
For more information on dental sealants, contact Jonny Fisher, DDS, at our office in Pullman, Washington. Call (509) 383-8300 to book an appointment today.