Are Protective Tooth Sealants Effective?
Did you know that your teeth aren’t perfectly smooth? If you were to take a look at your back molars, you’d notice tiny grooves that help you chew.
Your first line of defense against cavities should include brushing and flossing every day. But the bristles on your toothbrush might still be too big to fit into those nearly invisible cracks.
Are Tooth Sealants Necessary for Kids?
We often recommend tooth sealants for children, who need extra protection while they learn how to brush properly.
Sealants also fill in those pits and fissures that would otherwise collect plaque and food debris.
Knowing why they are effective helps you see the benefits of this routine procedure.
What Are Tooth Sealants?
Sealants are a thin coating of a hardy material that is placed over the teeth as an extra layer of protection.
When we apply the liquid sealant, it flows into the grooves of your teeth. Then, we use a special curing light to harden the material.
Once it hardens, the coating serves as a seal that guards against tooth decay.
Are They Also Helpful for Adults?
Typically, sealants are applied to children’s teeth around the ages of four to seven. We like to put them on teeth as soon as the first permanent molars come in.
Then, we may recommend doing it again when your child’s second molars arrive. Usually, this occurs around the time a child turns 12. This helps protect the tooth before it has a chance to develop decay.
We do offer sealants to older kids and adults. The material works best if the tooth is free of decay, which is why we may recommend other treatments for people with cavities or chips in their teeth.
If your teeth are still healthy, then you can absolutely get sealants. Just let us know if you’re interested. We’ll check to see if you’d be a good candidate for getting them as an adult.
How Long Do Sealants Last?
Professionally applied sealants can last as long as 9 or 10 years. They are the most effective during the first two years.
During your child’s dental exams, we’ll check the sealant to see if it needs to be replaced. If it does, it is just as simple of a procedure as the first time we covered the teeth.
What Does the Science Say?
At the end of the day, you’re likely still wondering if its worth it. Studies have shown that sealants can prevent 80% of cavities for two years and about 50% after the four-year mark.
Being able to prevent cavities while your child may still be brushing up on their oral hygiene skills gives them a head start on preserving their smile.
Applying tooth sealants is painless and only takes a few minutes during a normal office visit. Considering that they can prevent the majority of cavities for several years, it is absolutely worth it.
Let us know if you’re interested in sealants for you or your child.