While toothbrush bristles and dental floss can remove plaque from smooth surfaces of teeth, they’re not always able to remove all the food particles stuck in the back teeth (molars and premolars).
A way to help prevent cavities in the back teeth is by using a dental sealant, which is a clear, white or tinted covering.
A dental sealant is applied to the chewing surfaces of teeth (depressions and grooves) and forms a protective shield over the enamel of each tooth to help protect the teeth from decay.
Children, teens and adults can all get dental sealants, but kids are usually prime candidates for sealants.
Usually children get dental sealants on their permanent molars and premolars (back teeth) as soon as these teeth come in. Molars and premolars continue coming in until eleven to thirteen years of age. The dental sealants can protect their teeth during the "cavity" years of ages 6 to 14. These teeth can be sealed after they have risen above the gum line.
While some parents might scoff at the idea of applying a dental sealant on a child's baby teeth, dental sealants may help when a child's baby teeth have deep depressions and grooves. Baby teeth hold the correct spacing for permanent teeth, so it's good to keep baby teeth healthy so they are not lost too early.
A dentist or hygienist can apply dental sealant to your teeth or your child's teeth.
Before the dental sealant is applied, teeth are professionally cleaned. Then each tooth, that is going to get the sealant, is dried with cotton or gauze.
A solution is then put on the chewing surfaces of the teeth. This solution will create a fine rough surface that will help the dental sealant attach to the tooth, kind of like when a road is paved.
The teeth are rinsed and dried, and then the dental sealant is painted onto the surface of the teeth.
Sometimes a special curing light is used to help the sealant harden to the surface of the tooth. When the dental sealant becomes a thin hard plastic coating, you can chew on the tooth (teeth) again.
Sealants will usually protect teeth from decay for up to 10 years, but have to be checked at regular dental check-ups for chipping or wearing. If any problems are found then a dentist can apply the dental sealant again.
Dental sealants are sometimes placed in adults who are at risk for cavities, but can only be used on teeth that do not have fillings.
Many insurance companies cover the cost of sealants, so you should check with your insurance company to see if dental sealants are carried under your plan.
Many studies have shown that dental sealants are effective in helping to prevent decay on the chewing surfaces of teeth. We apply dental sealants that are BPA free as well.
To find out more about dental sealants for yourself or your child, please call (818) 508–7272 and make an appointment with us!