Maintaining a regular dental hygiene routine can be difficult in our hectic lives. Even when we do manage to maintain this practice, it doesn’t mean that we’re eliminating all the gunk that builds up in our teeth. This is especially true when it comes to our back teeth, which are not only hard to reach; they also tend to collect leftover food for hungry bacteria. Thankfully, a regular dental hygiene routine isn’t the only way to handle these concerns. Along with regular dental visits, sealants can be a great second line of defense to protect your teeth from decay.
What Are Sealants?
Sealants are a thin coating comprised of a mixture of dental materials and plastic that forms a protective coating over the chewing surface of teeth to protect them from decay. While they are not a replacement for regular dental hygiene, that can increase the chances that your teeth will remain cavity-free in combination with it. Sealants are so effective that patients have shown an 80% reduction in the amount of decay that occurs in molars. The CDC has emphasized the importance of sealants for children, in particular, citing a 300% higher occurrence of cavities in children without them.
Sealants: How Do They Work?
Sealants function in much the same way as waxing your car does. They block damaging bacteria from being able to attack your teeth directly by preventing food from becoming lodged and helping acids wash away.
Who Can Benefit From Sealants?
To get the most out of sealants it’s important to get them early, especially for younger patients. Children first get their molars around six years old, with their second ones coming through approximately six years later. If these teeth are sealed immediately, they’ll remain cavity-free, saving you money and time over the years.
How Does My Dentist Apply Sealants?
The overall process is very simple and painless for the patient. It starts with the dentist cleaning the patient’s teeth and drying out their mouth. Once the application site is dry, the dentist will apply an acidic gel to the desired teeth to create a slightly rough surface for the seal to attach to. The gel will then be rinsed off, and sealant applied to the tooth, followed by hardening it with a blue light made for the purpose.
Can Sealants Be Used On Top Of Cavities?
In cases of early decay, the sealant can be applied to help prevent additional damage from occurring. Thanks to the transparent nature of the sealant, your dentist will be able to keep an eye on the sealed location to ensure no further damage is occurring.
What Side Effects Are There With Sealants?
No known side effects, outside of a potential allergic reaction in some patients, are known to exist from the use of sealants.
Is BPA Present In Sealants?
There is a very limited amount of BPA in sealants, so little that the patient is at no risk of any harm. Using cosmetics, breathing dust, and touching a receipt will all expose you to more BPA than sealants.
How Long Are Sealants Good For? Are They Covered By My Insurance?
Several years will pass before it is necessary to reapply sealants. Every dental visit, your dentist will check your sealant to ensure they remain effective and will reapply them at need. Coverage varies from plan to plan, check with your provider to determine your plan’s coverage or contact us for assistance.