What are Dental Sealants?
What are Dental Sealants?
Cavities are a result of poor dental hygiene. They not only cause pain but can damage your oral health leading to gingivitis and even more serious problems like periodontitis and tooth decay. We are all aware that the best way to prevent cavities is to brush and floss daily. However, those aren’t the only way, dental sealants can also help fight cavities.
Understanding Dental Sealants
As the name suggests, dental sealants help seal your teeth by covering them. A thin layer of resin or plastic and glass ionomer is used to cover teeth and prevents plaque and tartar from build up. It also prevents food from settling near or around the teeth.
Since molars are the most susceptible to decaying, a sealant is commonly used on them. The molars are used extensively during eating as it tears the food apart when you chew. This also makes it more vulnerable to leftover food particles which get stuck, becoming a breeding ground for bacteria. Which is exactly why around 80% of cavities occur in the molars.
The sealant can still be used on non-molar teeth but the treatment is less common. Usually, a tooth that has grooves or divots are prime candidates for dental sealants. A sealant is hardly detectable as it is clear.
Background on Dental Sealants
The treatment has been used in dentistry since it was approved in 1976 by ADA. An estimated 55 million sealants are used in the US by pediatric dentists. Sealants are a cost effective solution which has made it available to those with lower incomes also.
In the US, giving access to dental sealants for children has been of importance. 21 states have programs running that ensure kids can get the treatment no matter their socio-economic background.
Do Sealants Actually Work?
There are numerous statistics on dental sealants that shows exactly how effective the treatment is:
- Studies by ADA show that sealants can reduce the risk of tooth decay by up to 80%.
- According to the CDC, children that don’t have dental sealant have the risk of developing 3 times more cavities than those that do.
- Another report shows that for the people that have dental sealants only 11 % developed cavities while the number rises to 52% when you account those that don’t use sealants.
It is important to note that while dental sealant does help you fight against cavity; you still need a good oral regimen to ensure that the cavity doesn’t form on your teeth. The sealant is just aid but not a sole preventative measure.
When is a Dental Sealant Required?
We asked our friend, Dr. Matt Laurich, a dentist in Canton, MI, about dental sealants. Dr. Laurich recommends that a dental sealant should be placed as soon as your permanent molars come in. This ensures that they stay protected. However, only 30% of children aged between 6-11 have sealants while 40% have them from 12-19.
You don’t find it often that dental sealants are recommended for baby teeth, until or unless there is any problem and there is a fear of the tooth being lost early due to the problem.
While the treatment is recommended for adolescent, adults too can benefit from it. If you feel that your teeth are in need of sealant to keep cavity away and prevent decay, then you can also get sealants. It is important that you get sealant before there is any sign of decay in your teeth.
What is the Process of Getting Dental Sealant?
The process of getting dental sealant is simple at your favorite Greeley dentist. Dr. Taher Dhoon is an experienced dental specialist when it comes to dental sealants. The process starts with a quick tooth cleanse and a dry. A gel with acidic properties is applied which presents a foundation for the sealant to bond to. The tooth is once again cleaned and dried off and the sealant is applied as close as possible to the tooth. Blue light is then used to cure the sealant.
How Safe are Dental Sealants?
There has been a lot of talk about sealant not being safe due to the presence of BPA. While exposure to BPA isn’t good, the chemical amount is extremely low in dental sealants. The amount of BPA present in the sealant isn’t high enough to cause any harm to you or your body.
How Painful Are Sealants?
The process of getting sealant put on and the material itself is painless. It is just a cover that is put on the tooth that requires no anesthesia or injection to be used in the procedure.
How Much Do Dental Sealant’s Cost and How Long Do They Last?
As discussed before, the dental sealant is cost-effective. The price range varies but is usually under $50 per tooth. Since it comes under preventative care, some insurance plans do cover the treatment. So you can consult with your insurance provider to see whether or not the treatment is covered.
The amount of time sealants last depends on how well they are applied. At Greeley Dental Care, our dental sealant treatment usually last up to 10 years. The dentists make sure to check up on the sealant at your every visit to ensure it isn’t damaged.