Preventive treatments including dental sealants, can reduce or even eliminate, the incidence of infection and decay. At Lakewood Dental Arts, we use sealants to protect areas of your enamel that are most susceptible to hidden bacteria. This can include areas that may be too small for the bristles of a brush or floss, areas that food can get trapped, or just on teeth that are higher subject to decay. Dental sealants are recommended for all of our youth aged patients, and any patient when the need is present.
Dental sealants are a coating that we can apply to the teeth to protect them from bacteria. The sealant serves as a barrier between the tooth and food particles or plaque. This shield, or barrier, can greatly reduce the likelihood of developing decay or cavities. Sealants are applied in a liquid form that then dries hard.
In decades past, cavities were often linked to the idea of childhood, almost as a right of passage. As we have learned more about dentistry, and dental health, we have learned that protecting our teeth is very important. Though our children begin to receive their permanent teeth in childhood, we hope their teeth last them for a hundred years or more. The best way to help your child reach the end of their life with their natural teeth is to guide them in oral hygiene daily tasks, and protect their teeth through preventive steps in every way we can. This can include the appropriate use of fluoride, and adding a barrier of protection with dental sealants.
Studies have shown a rapid decline in the development of caries, decay, and infection in patients with dental sealants. Increasingly, children are reaching adulthood without ever experiencing tooth decay, and with education that number will continue to grow. Soon, the idea of children and cavities will be a thought of the past.
How do dental sealants protect my teeth?
Our teeth are brilliantly designed to help us chew and break down food. The occlusal, or biting, surfaces of our teeth do a great job, but there can be areas that food and plaque can become stuck. These areas can be difficult or even impossible to clean. This can be especially true for our younger patients who are still learning how to best navigate a toothbrush or floss. We can seal these areas by filling them with the clear plastic coating of dental sealants.
If the treatment of applying sealants has been agreed on, we begin with a thorough dental cleaning of the area. We then apply a light acidic rinse to the area, this will slightly roughen up the enamel surface making adhesion better and stronger. The dental sealants are then applied with a small brush in a liquid form. This is all a painless process, there is no discomfort. Even still, working in the mouth can cause some children limited anxiety, we take their emotional health into consideration, which may lengthen the process.
Who are dental sealants for?
As a standard, we would like all of our adolescent aged patients to have dental sealants placed. This is ideally after they have grown their permanent molars. If we can protect our youth and teenage aged patient’s teeth with sealants, we can reduce the likelihood of developing a cavity by nearly 80%. In addition, we are happy to review the status of our adult patient’s teeth and determine if they have spots that are more susceptible to catching debris that is then difficult to remove. We are also happy to place sealants on our adult patients who have a higher tendency to decay.
If you have questions, or would like to discuss dental sealants, our team is happy to review and provide answers. Dental sealants can provide you a healthier smile.