Over 90% of adults in the United States have cavities and about 25% of them have untreated cavities. If you are one of those people who love to have their sweets but are prone to cavities, dental sealants are one of the most effective preventive dental treatments for you.
A dental sealant is a thin plastic coating applied to the chewing surface of the back teeth. This layer has the ability to bond tightly to the enamel and acts as a physical barrier between the bacteria and the surface of your tooth.
Why Do We Recommend Dental Sealants?
Our molars and premolars have many tiny cracks and fissures where food and plaque can get stuck easily. These cracks are thinner than the breadth of a toothbrush bristle, and deep so the tooth cannot be cleaned easily. As a result, bacteria will start to colonize inside these cracks and produce acid that will over time dissolve the enamel, exposing the tooth to infection.
In addition, your molars and premolars also exert a lot of grinding force when eating. Hence, their surface is more prone to wear and tear.
At Ford Dental Group, we recommend the use of dental sealants to give your back teeth a smooth chewing surface and protect them from the damaging activities of the bacteria.
Who are the Candidates for Dental Sealants?
Children and adolescents are the most likely candidates for dental sealants. People in the age group of 6 and 14 do not always have the healthiest eating habits nor are they always very responsible when it comes to ensuring their oral hygiene. As a result, they are most likely to fall victim to cavities.
In addition, dental sealants can be an effective cavity prevention method for adults as well who are prone to tooth decay.
We may also consider placing dental sealants on baby teeth if their fissures have deepened. This is because the health of baby teeth is crucial for the health of the adult teeth. If the baby teeth are lost prematurely, it can have negative and long-lasting consequences for a person’s dental health. Dental sealants, however, can prevent cavities in the back teeth and prevent infection from spreading to the adult teeth growing under the gums.
Keep in mind, though, that dental sealants can only be used on teeth that do not have any fillings, crowns, or other restorations.
What to Expect During a Sealant Procedure
Applying dental sealant is a very simple and straightforward procedure. As it is completely non-invasive, there is no need for any anesthesia. Dr. Jonathan Ford and will first clean the surface of your back tooth to get rid of any traces of food debris and plaque from the fissures. The tooth is dried and lightly etched with dental tools.
We will then apply a few coats of sealant to the surface of the enamel with a fine brush. A UV light is applied to cure the sealant and bond it tightly to the tooth. Once the coating is in place, we will check your bite and trim away any excess pieces of sealant. You can eat with the tooth immediately after the procedure is done.
How Long Do Dental Sealants Last?
The protection provided by dental sealants can last for over 10 years. However, since it is just a coating of plastic, it may start to show chips and cracks after a while. If this happens, we can always reapply the dental sealant.
Are Dental Sealants Safe?
Some people are concerned about the fact that dental sealants are made of plastic, which is harmful to your health. However, the American Dental Association states that the amount of BPA in sealants is too low to cause any risk.
If you are concerned about the health of your teeth, dental sealants are a safe and effective way to protect your back teeth from decay. Keep in mind, though, that you will still need to exercise good oral hygiene because the sealant does not protect the sides of your tooth from bacterial attack.
Find out more about dental sealants and how they can help you by scheduling a consultation with Dr. Jonathan Ford by calling 714-409-6161. Depending on your dental health, we will check whether dental sealants are a good option for you.