What are Dental Sealants and Who Should Get Them?
Good dental hygiene truly can prevent a multitude of problems. One of the most remarkable and simple types of prevention are dental sealants.
What Are Dental Sealants?
Dental sealants (also termed pit and fissure sealants, or simply fissure sealants) are a thin plastic coating that is painted on to the chewing surfaces of the teeth. Sealants have been around for a long time, but like most things they have improved dramatically. Modern dental sealants are generally resin or glass ionomer based. Hybrid materials, such as polyacid modified resin, are between these two categories. Once applied, the sealant can protect the teeth from bacteria and acids. It’s like putting an extra coat of armor on each tooth to provide a barrier against the things that cause tooth decay.
When Should Dental Sealants Be Applied?
Dr. Martin recommends children have dental sealants applied twice at the very least. The first application when the child is 5 or 6 years of age at which time the first permanent molars have come in. Then a second application at around 12 to 13 years of age when the second set of permanent molars have come in. Sealants, once applied, generally last 10 years. Your child’s dentist does need to regularly check the sealant adherence however.
Should Adults Ever Get Sealants?
Adults can often benefit from sealants, especially if they never had sealants put on when they were a kid or they have those deep grooves on the chewing surfaces of their teeth. Sealants can prevent bacteria and acid from collecting in those deep fissures and causing tooth decay at any age.
How Effective are Dental Sealants?
Protecting the chewing surfaces of teeth, especially ones with deep grooves, has proven an extraordinarily effective prevention against decay. The American Dental Association states that putting a sealant on a tooth with deep grooves or anatomy can cut the rate of decay down by 80%! With odds that great, no negative side effects, and the relatively low cost of the procedure, getting dental sealants applied is an easy choice.
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