How Dental Sealants Help Prevent Cavities for Both Kids and Adults
The use of dental sealants among both kids and adults has been on the rise in recent years, and for good reason. Dental sealants are an excellent preventive measure, providing that quick and painless extra layer of protection against tooth decay. However, many of our patients think that dental sealants are only for kids. Though it is true that the earlier in life you get dental sealants, the better, the reality is that dental sealants can help protect your teeth no matter what age you are.
There are many advantages of dental sealants for kids and adults alike.
Let us start by answering the question probably at the top of your mind – just what are dental sealants, anyway? Dental sealants are comprised of a thin, plastic-like coating painted by your dentist or their dental assistant on the chewing surfaces of your teeth. By having a sealant painted on the back teeth, specifically your premolars and molars, you can significantly lessen your risks of tooth decay. After it is applied, the sealant dries quickly, bonding into the grooves and depressions of your teeth. We often tell kids to think of dental sealants as superhero shields designed to protect the enamel on their teeth.
The process to get sealants is quick and painless and can be completed at your dental cleaning. Once the sealants are applied, it is expected that they will protect against 80% of cavities over the next two years. By getting sealants now, you can reduce the risks of more expensive dental treatments later.
Who is a candidate for dental sealants?
Children and teenagers are the best candidates for dental sealants because they are at greater risk of dental decay in their premolars and molars. Most dentists recommend that children get sealants applied as soon as their teeth come in. This provides a useful protection barrier as most kids are more prone to cavities between 6 and 14.
That said, adults are also candidates for dental sealants in certain situations. The fact is that you can get a cavity at any age. So adults who want that extra protection should ask their dentist about sealants at their next appointment. The only caveat is that sealants cannot be placed on teeth that have dental fillings. They can, however, be placed on adult molars with mild tooth decay.
How long do dental sealants last?
Dental sealants provide the most protection in the first two to four years after they are applied. However, your dental sealants for adults (and kids too) should be effective in reducing dental decay for a good nine years after placement. Your dentist, however, will check on the status of the dental sealants at your appointments every six months. If it is found that you have a missing sealant, they are fast and easy to replace.
What is the process to get dental sealants?
The sealant application process is pretty straightforward and only takes a few minutes from start to finish.
- The teeth are prepared by undergoing a full professional cleaning.
- The teeth are dried and cotton is placed around them to keep them dry.
- An acid solution is placed on the chewing surfaces of the teeth to make them a bit rougher—this process helps the sealant more effectively bond to the teeth.
- Teeth are rinsed and dried.
- The sealant is painted onto the dental enamel where it quickly bonds and hardens—a curing light is used to help the sealant harden.
The process is fast, easy, and painless. If you are an adult getting sealants for the first time, you may find that the process is so easy that you’ll wonder why you waited so long. Not only will those new dental sealants help protect your teeth from decay, but will reduce your risks of tooth extraction later.
Want an easy way to prevent cavities? Ask your dentist about dental sealants!
If you take your oral health seriously and are wondering how to prevent cavities, then look no further – dental sealants may be the right choice for you. Of course, dental sealants don’t forego the need for a good oral care routine at home, or the need for visits to your dentist every six months for an oral evaluation and professional dental cleaning. But dental sealants do indeed provide an extra layer of protection, significantly reducing your risk of cavities.
So what are you waiting for? Request an appointment with Parmer Lane Dentistry today. First appointment at Parmer Lane Dentistry? No worries. We’re happy to welcome new patients and make it easy to get started.