A dental sealant is designed to shield teeth and avert tooth decay and dental caries. Although they are commonly used for children, many adults across America are also using dental sealants as a protection method to ensure their teeth stay healthy as long as possible.
Dental caries is one of the most common chronic diseases in children and adolescents in the USA and research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the US found that 18% of children aged 6-11 and 58% of children aged 12-19 had caries in their teeth.
Dental sealants are a preventative procedure against caries that sees a thin coating painted onto the teeth in order to prohibit acid from damaging the enamel and to prevent the build-up of plaque and tartar.
The majority of chewing happens around the premolar and molar area so; it’s easy for food and bacteria to gather in the grooves and cause tooth decay. While regular flossing and brushing reduce the risk, they can’t eliminate all debris and bacteria. As such, often a dental sealant is necessary.
There are numerous reasons why US citizens visit their dentist to receive sealants and like everything, there are pros and cons to having the procedure undertaken.
- The procedure for dental sealants is completely painless, quick, and easy. It takes just a few minutes to apply to each tooth.
- It’s an effective way to prevent tooth cavities and can reduce the risk of molar cavities by up to 80%.
- They are durable and some sealants can last a lifetime. Others last as long as 10 years following installation and can be replaced once their time is up.
- They are not noticeable.
- They’re particularly popular and ideal for children who struggle to properly brush their teeth.
- Sealants cannot be used on teeth with any sign of decay or existing fillings.
- Some sealants only last between 5 to 10 years before you need to replace them.
- There is a chance a cavity may be covered by the sealant. If a cavity goes unnoticed and covered it could lead to further problems. On the other side of this though, the sealant may also prevent the cavity from growing as it will be protected from additional bacteria.
- While they have been deemed safe, sealants are made from materials which may contain BPA.
- Your insurance may not cover the cost of the procedure, as some providers deem this to be a cosmetic procedure. It is cheaper than dealing with cavities though.
- As previously mentioned, if they have a slight chip or a break in them, food can be trapped underneath creating bacteria and decay.
Are Dental Sealants Right For You?
There are many benefits to dental sealants as a child and an adult. If a child has an increased risk of tooth decay, this procedure could benefit but it isn’t recommended on baby teeth. For adults, as we grow older our exposure to decay and the protective chemistry of our saliva changes. As such our teeth are not as protected as they were when we were young. Sealants can provide our teeth with a longer lifespan, protecting both our teeth and gums from harmful bacteria. If you’d like to find out more about dental sealants, get in touch or schedule an appointment with our team today.