What are dental sealants?
Dental sealants are thin, plastic coating painted on top of teeth in order to prevent tooth decay. The sealant bonds to the depressions and grooves of the teeth by forming a shield over the enamel of each tooth. Brushing and flossing removes food and plaque from teeth but it is not always possible to get into the depressions and grooves in the back teeth. Sealants are used to protect these areas from tooth decay.
Parents and guardians of children and adolescents should consider getting sealants for them since sealants can prevent decay development.
Children aged 6 to 14 should get sealants on their permanent molars as well as premolars as soon as the teeth come in. Some dentists even recommend getting baby teeth covered in sealants. This is especially the case if the child’s baby teeth have deep depressions and grooves. Baby teeth hold the correct spacing for permanent teeth so it is pertinent to keep the teeth healthy and make sure they are not lost too early. Adults without decay or fillings in their molars should also consider getting sealants to ensure healthy teeth for years to come.
A dentist or hygienist applies sealants in a simple and painless process. First, the teeth that are going to be sealed are thoroughly cleaned. Each tooth is dried and cotton is put around each tooth to keep it dry. Acid solution is put on the chewing surfaces of the teeth to roughen them a little. The teeth are rinsed and dried again before the sealant is painted onto the tooth enamel. The sealant bonds immediately to the tooth but sometimes a special curing light is used to speed up the process and make sure the sealant is hard.
If you have any questions call Dr. Heather Darcey at Clear Lake Dental 281-488-6862
Teeth with sealants can be protected from decay for up to 10 years but dental checkups are necessary to keep the sealants from chipping or wearing thin. Don’t worry if the sealant does get chipped or wears thin from regular use, dentists can easily touch up the sealants at the next appointment.
Sealants have been shown to reduce the risk of decay in molars by 80%.
Some insurance companies will even cover the cost of sealants, usually only for patients younger than 18, but it is definitely still worthwhile!
If you think you or your child need sealants or if you have any questions call Dr. Heather Darcey at Clear Lake Dental, 281-488-6862. You can also make an appointment online. Dr. Darcey and her team of dental professionals will be happy to help!