Dental sealants are often advertised as a quick, simple procedure that helps with the prevention of tooth decay and cavities; but do sealants really work? To discover if sealants really work to prevent cavities and tooth decay, you must learn more about them and how they work.
What are Dental Sealants and How do They Work?
Dental sealants are a very thin, fine layer of acrylic coating that is applied to the chewing surface of the teeth. This tooth-colored acrylic coating acts as an extra protective layer that protects the deep grooves and bumps of the tooth from the development of plaque and harmful acids.
Dental sealants are extremely easy to apply to a tooth. The acrylic coating comes in liquid form. Your dentist will gently paint it onto the chewing surface of your teeth and then use a special light to help it dry. Once dried, the dental sealant will provide protection against cavities and tooth decay. The entire process takes just a few minutes and is completely painless.
Dental Sealants aren’t Just for Children
Dental sealants are commonly thought of as a pediatric dental procedure. That is because they are usually used to help prevent cavities and tooth decay in children. However, dental sealants can be just as helpful to adults.
Adults who are actively working to protect themselves against tooth decay and cavities could benefit from getting dental sealants. The sealant will provide the same type of protection that it does to children.
The only drawback to getting dental sealants as an adult, as opposed to getting them as a child, is that you cannot have a history of periodontal disease or cavities. If you developed a dental cavity in one of your molars or have periodontal disease, you will not be a good candidate for dental sealants.
A Good Oral Hygiene Routine is Still Needed to Prevent Cavities
Even though dental sealants do successfully reduce the likelihood that you will develop a tooth cavity, they don’t provide 100% protection against tooth decay and cavities. To get the most protection against decay and cavities, you will need to combine dental sealants with a good daily oral hygiene routine.
A good oral hygiene routine involves doing the following:
- Brushing your teeth at least twice a day
- Flossing at least once a day
- Using proper techniques to brush and floss
- Using a toothpaste that contains fluoride
- Staying properly hydrated
- Limiting the amount of sugary or acidic foods you consume on a daily basis
- Avoiding extremely hard, crunchy, or chewy foods
- Scheduling regular dental checkups every four to six months
Regular Dental Checkups are Needed for Full Cavity Prevention
Dental sealants don’t last forever. They typically provide protection against decay and cavities for approximately 10 years. However, they can start to wear down, chip, or fail before 10 years. That is why regular dental checkups are so important.
Part of your regular dental checkup will include having a dental hygienist or dentist assess the condition of your dental sealants. They will be looking for any noticeable signs of wear and tear. They also check to see if any chips or cracks have formed in the sealant. If problems are spotted, the dental sealant can be reapplied before decay or cavities start to form.
If you’re interested in seeing if dental sealants are right for you, or think it may be time to have them reapplied, Contact Artistic Touch Dentistry to schedule a dental appointment.