It is unfortunate, however understandable, that many people put off talking to their dentist about dental sealant with the misconception that sealants hurt. The following points should be considered, in regards to using sealant as a viable option in preventing tooth decay for you as well as your child.
It is common knowledge that brushing and flossing your teeth is crucial for oral health. Fluoride in toothpaste and drinking water also protects the surfaces of teeth, but back teeth need extra protection as tooth decay can still develop in the grooves of premolars and molars. Dental sealants, also known as fissure sealants, are a great way to prevent this type of decay in children and teenagers, who are at higher risk. Sealants protect the teeth through the cavity-prone years of 6 to about 13. However, adults without decay or fillings can benefit from sealants as well.
A sealant is applied in the dentist’s office, and the procedure itself is very straightforward and usually painless. The sealant itself is comprised of a thin plastic coating, and it is painted directly on the teeth, typically, on the molars and premolars. The sealant bonds into the recesses of the teeth, and it forms a protective layer over the enamel of each tooth. The coating is very smooth, making it a lot easier to keep clean, inevitably, preventing bacteria from setting in and corroding the teeth enamel.
Sealants can protect teeth for up to 10 years, sometimes longer, but they do need to be looked at regularly for wearing and chipping. Checkups can be done at your regular dental appointments. Children, in particular, have a tendency to open packages with their teeth or bite down on hard substances such as ice, which can cause the sealant to wear and chip. If this does happen, the sealant can be easily reapplied.
It is worth doing the procedure; however, it can get costly. If you have an insurance or discount plan, the price can be reduced. It is cost-effective, and it will save you time and money on future, invasive surgeries. Dental sealants are very effective in preventing the build-up of plaque acids that occur over time and protect against 80 percent of cavities for up to two years. It can continue to protect against 50 percent of cavities for up to 4 years. Dental sealants are also very safe and have been so since they were first introduced over 40 years ago.
While being very safe and effective, they also last many years, and if there is wearing and chipping, the coating can easily be reapplied.
Both dental sealants and fillings are valuable in their own right but provide very different functions from each other when it comes to dental health. Dental sealants provide prevention of tooth decay as the coating fills in the natural grooves and fissures in the molars where dental decay occurs most. Fillings are used to restore teeth to their normal shape and appearance by filling in cavities that have been caused by tooth decay. Fillings, like, sealants, are often used in the molars where tooth decay occurs most often. They are made from different materials, such as tooth-colored fillings, and dental amalgam (silver-colored) are two popular choices.
There are other expensive alternatives such as gold or ceramic crowns. Ordinary composite fillings can last up to 5 years. The more expensive fillings such as the silver-colored fillings can last anywhere from 10 years right up to 15 years, and just like sealants, are also subject to wearing and chipping.
In summary, dental sealants are a long-term preventative measure against tooth decay and fillings respond to the problems caused by tooth decay by filling in the gaps.
If you have any further queries considering dental sealants, and you are wondering if it is right for you, please arrange an appointment for a consultation with Dr. Jeron Winslow of New Essence Dentistry, located at 4000 Truxel Rd Suite 2, Sacramento, CA 95834.