Dental Sealants Protect Your Teeth
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You may have heard of dental sealants before, but what do they do for your teeth? Dental sealants provide the most benefit to children and adolescents whose permanent teeth have come in. You should talk with a dentist about whether you or your children are candidates for sealants.
How Sealants Are Applied
Your dentist will brush sealant onto the teeth after thoroughly cleaning them. While some dentists put sealants on baby teeth, the primary benefit is for permanent molars and premolars. While adults could benefit from sealants in some cases, the primary risk of cavities occurs in adolescents. Also, if your teeth have been filled or you have implants, there are no benefits to be had from sealants.
As the name implies, sealants work by penetrating into the microscopic fissures and pits on the teeth. Sealants form a barrier between tooth enamel and acids, which makes it more difficult for tooth enamel to be weakened. Even where lesions already exist on the tooth, sealants can minimize the chance that these lesions will form cavities that must be drilled and filled.
Are There Risks Associated with Sealants?
Children and adolescents tolerate the process of applying sealants well. Your dentist must apply sealants again if the coating becomes chipped or worn. In some cases, once the sealant hardens, some of it must be scraped away if there is excess material on the teeth. The patient’s bite may be affected slightly by the sealant material on the teeth, but this tends to wear down with time.
There are no clinically proven risks associated with the sealant process or the chemicals involved. Some parents are concerned about exposure to bisphenol A (BPA), but no studies have shown any significant effects on health.
How Significant Are the Benefits of Sealants?
Children and adolescents who receive treatment with sealants experience profoundly lower rates of cavities and tooth decay. This will result in fewer fillings in adolescence. Drilling and filling teeth, especially at an early age, makes it more likely that dentists will have to do additional work on these same teeth later in life.
What Is the Cost of Sealants?
Treatment with sealants can be costly, but dental insurance often covers the procedure, especially for patients under 18. Compared to the cost of fillings and other treatments for tooth decay, it can be a bargain.
Talk to a dentist, like a Cary, NC dentist, about the benefits of sealants. If you have children with their permanent molars and premolars, it can make a significant difference in their risk of tooth decay.
Thanks to Alliance Dentistry for their insight into what dental sealants are, and how they can help protect your teeth.