Can Dental Sealants Help Me Avoid Cavities?

Feel your back teeth for a moment. The tops of your premolars and molars are rough, bumpy with lots of crevices that can harbor food, plaque, tartar, and bacteria. These are the things that lead to cavities as well as other dental problems. Fortunately, there is a simple preventive treatment to help protect your back teeth — dental sealants. A flexible plastic material, dental sealants can be put on the tops of the molars and premolars to create a protective barrier between the enamel and damaging plaque and bacteria. A quick, noninvasive procedure, dental sealants can be included in your preventive treatment plan created by your dentist in Cary, NC that protects your teeth from cavities for several years. To help both parents of children who may benefit from dental sealants as well as adults, our team of dental professionals at DentalWorks – Cary Crossroads has written a short guide on dental sealants. This guide will help you figure out if you or your loved ones may benefit from dental sealants, what happens during the dental sealant application procedure, and what to expect after you get dental sealants.

One of the most common forms of cavities are pit and fissure dental caries. Cavities are formed when plaque and bacteria start to decay (erode) the enamel on the outside of the tooth. Brushing every day and flossing can help to remove plaque and bacteria before it turns into a cavity, but sometimes this is not enough. The pits and grooves on the tops of your back teeth trap plaque and bacteria, which leads to pit and fissure cavities. Dental sealants are a clear barrier that is placed over the tops of the premolars and molars. Sealants protect the enamel from food debris, plaque, tartar, and bacteria so it can’t turn into cavities. When applied correctly, dental sealants shouldn’t be seen or felt, but you will begin to see a difference with better dental exams and fewer problems.

Before they are teenagers, children will lose their baby teeth and obtain their permanent set of teeth. This is problematic because, with very few exceptions, many parents have trouble getting their children to brush their teeth twice a day every day like they are supposed to. This is one of the reasons children are more vulnerable to cavities. Dental sealants are a good way to help protect children’s molars while they develop a good oral hygiene routine. Ideally, dental sealants should be placed on the primary premolars and molars between the age of 5 – 7 years old and then again once the permanent premolars and molars have erupted from the gumline, normally around 11 – 14 years old. Although many children don’t like visiting the dentist for an optional procedure, like dental sealants, it can save them from more procedures, like tooth-colored fillings, by minimizing their risk of cavities. Additionally, once a cavity forms in the enamel, it will need a lifetime of treatment since tooth-colored fillings wear out and will need to be replaced every 5 – 20 years.

While dental sealants are more frequently recommended for children, adults may also be good candidates. Although adults are generally more effective about brushing and flossing every day, they can still have lapses and even the most diligent brusher is still at risk of getting cavities. Dental sealants can be a fantastic choice for adults who are prone to cavities. While dental sealants are typically not covered by dental insurance for adults, it can be a fantastic investment to help you avoid other expensive treatments, like tooth-colored fillings and crowns. Most dentists don’t talk to their adult patients about dental sealants, so if you are interested you should bring it up during your yearly oral health evaluation. You may also want to talk to your dentist about getting professional fluoride treatments after your bi-annual cleanings to help strengthen your enamel. Like dental sealants, fluoride treatments are generally performed on children, but they can be helpful for adults and are easy to request.

Dental sealants are generally done after a professional cleaning ever since your enamel is clean and free of buildup. The sealant application is a quick, noninvasive procedure, so anesthesia is not necessary, but it can be added if you have dental fears or anxiety. The clean teeth will be dried and lightly etched to prepare it for the dental sealant. The dental sealant is applied as a liquid and carefully brushed on to the tops of the back teeth. Once the sealant is in place, a special light is used to quickly bond the material to your teeth. Your team will check to make certain the sealant is smooth and hard before they rinse off your mouth and discuss how to take care of your mouth and sealants.

Once your dental sealants are set, you can leave and go about your typical day. Unless you also get a fluoride treatment, you ought to be able to eat and drink right away. While dental sealants reduce your risk of pit and fissure cavities, you still will need to adhere to a good home oral care routine to prevent other kinds of cavities and dental problems. You should brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss at least once each day. If you have questions about technique or what products to use, speak to your dentist. You still will need to get an annual oral health evaluation and bi-annual professional cleanings at your dentist in Cary, NC. During your examination, your dentist will assess your sealants and help you decide if they will need to be re-done. With appropriate care, dental sealants can last up to ten years. Small chips or worn areas can typically be repaired as necessary with more sealant material during regular appointments.

If you’re interested in dental sealants for yourself or your kids, schedule a consultation with your dentist in Cary, NC. If you’re looking for an excellent dental practice with experience and state-of-the-art equipment to make treatments easier, contact DentalWorks – Cary Crossroads. Our team of dental professionals takes great care of all our patients in Cary, NC with preventive dental care such as oral health examinations, professional cleanings, and dental sealants. Get in touch with our dental office in Cary, NC to schedule your consultation so our team can assess your oral health and develop your custom preventive treatment plan that could include dental sealants.