Are Dental Sealants Right for Me?

As any family dentist will tell you, brushing and flossing is the tried and true way to keep your teeth clean and the benefits of doing so regularly speak for themselves. However, this is not the only way to maintain and protect your teeth. Cleaning your front teeth is easy, but keeping the back teeth clean can be a trickier endeavor. This is especially true for children who are susceptible to cavities due to improper brushing and flossing habits, as well as their love for sweet treats. Dental sealants are an additional measure that can be used to protect teeth for children and adults alike. Keep reading to learn more about dental sealants to determine if they are the right choice for you and your family.

Dental Sealants Protect Children’s Teeth From Cavities

Sometimes, brushing alone isn’t enough to get those pesky, hard-to-reach spots in your mouth clean because it can be difficult for your toothbrush to get in between the tiny cracks and grooves on your teeth. If you don’t properly clean those tiny areas, they can develop tooth decay (cavities). Dental sealants are plastic resins that bond and harden in the deep grooves on your tooth’s surface. When a tooth is sealed, the tiny grooves become smooth and are less likely to harbor plaque. Sealants are usually applied to children’s teeth after their permanent teeth have erupted as a preventative measure against tooth decay. Proper sealants protect against 80% of cavities for the first two years after application and against 50% of cavities up to four years after application. In contrast, children without sealants have three times more cavities than those who do, making dental sealants a smart choice for parents.

Sealants Are Also a Smart Choice for Adults

While dental sealants are usually associated with children, adults can and should get them as well. After all, just because you are an adult doesn’t mean you are immune to getting cavities. Cavity rates may be decreasing thanks to positive trends in oral hygiene, but young adults (20-34) have more untreated cavities in their back teeth than any other age group, according to the Center for Disease Control. Some adults may also be more prone to cavities than others because their teeth have a lot of pits and crevasses, or because of their family history and genetics. Tooth decay can happen to anyone, regardless of age, so having this procedure done is a strategy you can take if you have had issues with tooth decay throughout your life. 

What To Expect During a Dental Sealant Procedure

If you are considering making a dentist appointment for dental sealants, it is good to know what to expect during your visit. Sealant placement is a relatively easy process with an experienced family dentist.

  1. The teeth are cleaned of plaque or food particles and then thoroughly examined for tooth decay
  2. Each tooth is dried and surrounded by an absorbent material so it stays dry throughout the procedure
  3. Teeth are cleaned with a mild etchant (acid etch solution) to roughen their surfaces and encourage bonding of the sealant material
  4. The etchant is rinsed and teeth are dried
  5. A thin layer of bonding agent may be used prior to the placement of the sealant 
  6. The sealant is painted directly onto the chewing surface of each tooth
  7. A curing light may be used to harden the dental sealant

Protect Your Smile with Radiance Dental

Are you looking for a family dentist in the Twin Cities? At Radiance Dental, we create radiant, healthy smiles for life. While much of the work to maintain a healthy smile is done at home, regular dentist appointments are necessary for protecting your oral and overall health. We provide general, pediatric and cosmetic dentistry services to make sure your whole family has healthy, happy smiles. Our dedicated staff of dentists and hygienists are committed to continued education to learn the latest techniques and technologies to provide the best available care for our patients. We provide a safe, comfortable atmosphere for regular cleanings, important questions and the treatments our patients need to put their best smile forward. If you are interested in dental sealants for yourself or your children, schedule a dentist appointment with us today.