According to the American Dental Association’s Center for Evidence-Based Dentistry, sealants are one of the most effective interventions available for the prevention of tooth decay.
Dental sealants have been around since the 1960’s and have proven to reduce the risk of decay by nearly 80 percent where 9 in 10 cavities occur in molars and continue to protect against 50% of cavities for up to 4 years.
This is especially important when it comes to your child’s dental health. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) “school-age children without sealants have almost three times more cavities than children with sealants.”
Although brushing and flossing can remove food particles and plaque from the smooth surfaces of your teeth, you can’t always get into all the nooks and crannies of the back teeth. Children should get sealants on their permanent molars and premolars as soon as these teeth come in.
What Are Sealants?
Usually, sealants are made of a special type of plastic. The sealant is applied in a thin coat to the chewing surfaces of your back teeth (molars), and fills in the deep pits and grooves that put you at risk of developing tooth decay. To learn more about sealants, this link provides a printable booklet with illustrations.
Who Should Get Sealants?
Children and adults can benefit from sealants, but the earlier they are applied, the better, according to the American Dental Association (ADA). Sealing molars as soon as they come in can keep them cavity-free from the very beginning. The earlier in life they are applied, the greater protection sealants offer, but it’s never too late to protect any chewing surface that is free from tooth decay with sealants. Sealants are a good investment for anyone, since they can save time and money down the road, avoiding the need to treat tooth decay with fillings and crowns.
How Are Sealants Applied?
The dental hygienist who applies your sealant will need to start with a clean and dry surface.
- To make sure the sealant forms a strong bond with the tooth, the tooth’s chewing surface will be roughened with a special gel.
- The gel is wiped off, and the surface of the tooth is dried again.
- The sealant is applied to the tooth that hardens into a strong, protective coating.
How Do Dental Sealants Work?
Dental sealants protect the crevices in your molars from tooth decay by “sealing out” plaque and food. After sealant has been applied, it keeps those bits of food out and stops bacteria and acid from settling on your teeth. Dental sealants are not a substitute for brushing and flossing. Nothing takes the place of good oral care. Your daily oral care routine should include the following:
- Brush your teeth for 2 minutes, twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush.
- Floss your teeth once a day. This helps remove plaque from between your teeth—another area your toothbrush can’t reach.
- See your dentist every six months for professional cleaning.
How Long Do Sealants Last?
Sealants are very durable, and in most cases, hold up to 10 years. Everyone is different, however, and sometimes sealants need to be reapplied. Your dentist will check them at every visit to make sure they’re doing their job. A sealant can be reapplied if it has come loose.
Niles Family Dentistry Gives Your Children a Good Foundation
Dr. Ashley Niles has a commitment to excellence and a love of family dentistry. Introducing your children to Dr. Niles for regular dental care from infancy and early childhood, will establish a healthy foundation from their formative years into adulthood. They are much more likely to escape cavities when they create those healthy habits early on.
Check-ups every six months are recommended by the ADA because regular dental visits are essential for the maintenance of healthy teeth and gums. Click on this link to learn more about the importance of bi-annual check-ups.
Regular dental visits will allow Dr. Niles to observe when your child’s back teeth start surfacing in the cavity-prone years of ages 6 to 14. The likelihood of developing decay in the crevices and grooves of the molars, increases as they grow older. Click on this link to learn what Dr. Niles has to say about sealants and take a peek at the other services at Niles Family Dentistry.
New permanent teeth are not as resistant to decay as adult teeth are. The hard enamel coating that protects the teeth changes as it ages to become stronger. Fluoride, found in toothpaste and drinking water, can strengthen enamel, but, it’s hard to get fluoride into those pits and crevices.
Sealants, along with good daily oral care and regular visits to Dr. Niles, are all part of a complete dental health plan.
Dr. Niles provides expert General, Family, Cosmetic and Restorative dental care. Located in Niwot, Colorado, she also provides dental treatment to the surrounding communities of Longmont and Boulder and the Front Range of northern Colorado. Check out our website to see the extensive list of services and expertise we provide.
We invite you to call or visit us today to learn more about our services and to set up your family’s next visit with our team of experts. Call Niles Family Dentistry at (720) 744-0001 to schedule an appointment and be sure to ask about the use of dental sealants to prevent cavities for you or your children. This may mean the difference between a lifetime of healthy teeth and the pain of chronic decay.
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