What Are Dental Sealants?

What Are Dental Sealants?

When your teeth are healthy, you barely give a thought to them. You can eat and enjoy all types of food without worrying about pain. It’s a different story when even one tooth has a cavity. It will affect your eating habits. You will likely choose to chew with the opposite side of your mouth. That may be easy to adjust to. But what happens when you have teeth on both sides with cavities?

The best defense against cavities is a regular dental hygiene regimen. Still, good habits can only keep your teeth healthy to some extent. What happens, for instance, to the teeth that your toothbrush can't get to? These teeth frequently develop cavities. Fortunately, dental sealants are available to help you protect them
as well.


What Are Dental Sealants?

Sealants are a great solution to protect the hard-to-reach molars and premolars. The sealants help keep them clean and safe from decay, especially if they have deep fissures. Sealants are thin overlays made from plastic or other dental materials that form a protective coating over teeth.

They stick to the grooved chewing surfaces of teeth—commonly back teeth. They do not replace brushing or flossing; instead, they prevent cavities from forming. 


How Effective Are Sealants?

Sealants are effective at reducing the risk of tooth decay by almost 80 percent. These are significant statistics, especially in pediatric dental health. The CDC released a report that detailed the importance of sealants for children.

According to the report, about 43 percent of children had sealants. They also found that children who did not have sealants had almost three times more cavities than those with them. 


How Do They Work?

Sealants, as mentioned, cover your teeth and keep cavities away. Cavities develop when the bacteria in your mouth produce acids that destroy the enamel. The bacteria that do this are naturally found in your mouth. It starts to produce acids in harmful amounts when you fail to brush regularly. 

Sealants keep the bacteria and the acids from reaching your teeth. They act like a raincoat in the rain. Because the surface of the teeth never interacts with the acids, it never forms cavities. 


Who Can Get Them?

Sealants are more commonly recommended for children than for adults. However, adults can also get treatment to protect their teeth. When getting them for your child, you must get them early on. Children develop their first molar at six and the second molar at 12. Sealing these teeth as soon as they erupt is vital to keep cavities away. 


How Are They Applied?

Sealant application is generally a quick and painless procedure. The dentist first cleans your tooth and dries it out. They will then spread a gel with acidic properties. Doing so roughens up your tooth surface for better adhesion. They wipe away the gel and apply the sealant, focusing on the tooth's grooves. Then they shine a special blue light on the sealant, hardening it.

For more on dental sealants, visit Woodyard Dental Care at our office in Paducah, Kentucky. Call (270) 213-6620 to book an appointment today.