Are you thinking about getting dental sealants? Brushing and flossing are effective in removing food and plaque from teeth. However, it is not always easy to reach all of the nooks and crannies in the molars and premolars. For this reason, many dental professionals recommend sealants. This is a thin, plastic coating that is painted onto the chewing surfaces of the teeth.
While this procedure has been around since the 1960s, there is still some concern as to whether or not sealants are safe. Before writing them off completely, take the time to learn the benefits and potential downsides of this common dental procedure.
How Dental Sealants Work
Before you can determine if dental sealants are safe, you need to understand how they work. A flowable resin material that is capable of filling the small grooves of the teeth to create a seal is attached to the teeth. Once the grooves are sealed, food is less likely to become stuck in the teeth. Dental sealants are most commonly given to children who do not yet possess excellent brushing skills. However, they can also be applied to adult teeth to help minimize the risk of decay.
What the Oral Health Research Shows
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the application of sealants can prevent 80 percent of cavities for up to two years. The CDC also states that the adhesive can protect against 50 percent of cavities for up to four years. Pit-and-fissure dental sealants have remained one of the most effective methods for reducing tooth decay, especially in children. The American Dental Association (ADA) has confirmed the effectiveness of dental sealants and recommends placing them on both the primary and permanent molars of children and adolescents.
Sealants vs. Fluoride Varnish Care
Most tooth decay in children and adolescents occur on the biting surfaces of the back teeth. Both dental sealants and fluoride varnish can be effective in reducing the risk of cavities. However, these two preventive treatments have some distinct differences. According to the Journal of the American Dental Association, a study conducted on nearly 2,000 participants revealed those who received sealants saw a 73 percent reduction in the risk of developing new cavities compared to those who only received fluoride varnishes.
Concerns About Bisphenol A
Bisphenol A (BPA) has been scrutinized again and again in recent years. This industrial chemical has been used to make resins and plastics since the 1960s and is commonly found in food containers and water bottles. Once deemed safe by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the agency altered its position in 2010. It is now said to be safe at low levels of human exposure. When it comes to dental sealants, the potential amount of BPA exposure is miniscule. This makes the product a safe and effective treatment option for children and adults.
Sealants Placed on Initial Caries
There has also been a lot of debate as to whether dental sealants should be placed on initial caries. As a general rule of thumb, the adhesive can be an effective prevention method for halting the progression of existing noncavitated caries lesions on teeth. Your Artistic Touch Dentistry dentist can correctly diagnose a noncavitated caries lesion and distinguish it from a cavitated caries lesion.
Talk to Your Melbourne FL Dentist
Currently, there is no scientific evidence that shows dental sealants to have a negative human estrogenic impact or other adverse health effects. Along with a regular dental cleaning, this procedure can help ward off plaque and tooth decay. However, it is important to understand that they can wear off over time. Although rare, sealants can fall off so they should be checked at regular dental appointments.
If you are looking for a way to better protect your or your child’s teeth from decay, dental sealants may be the right choice. Reach out to our dental professionals at Artistic Touch Dentistry today to learn more or to schedule an appointment.