What are Dental Sealants?
Dental sealants are a protective layer of plastic or other dental material that molds to your back teeth in order to prevent cavities and decay from forming. The sealants act like a coating on your molars, keeping leftover food out of there which could otherwise cause cavities. Studies have shown that dental sealants can reduce the risk of decay and cavities by up to 80%, which is especially important for children whose teeth are still growing and developing. The CDC (Center for Disease Control) says that only about 43% of school aged children have dental sealants, and those without them have three times as many cavities on average.
How Are Dental Sealants Put On Your Teeth?
The process of applying dental sealants is painless. A dentist will first clean and dry your teeth and then apply a gel that will help the sealants adhere to your teeth. The dentist will then apply the sealants to the grooves on the bottom side of your molars, and finally use a blue light to harden the sealant. Sealants can be applied to perfectly healthy teeth or to teeth that are showing early signs of decay, preventing any further damage. After being applied, sealants will normally last for several years before needing to be removed or replaced. Your dentist will check to make sure your sealants are still in good working order each time you have a regular check up or cleaning.
After Getting Sealants, Do I Need To Do Anything Else To Protect My Teeth?
After getting sealants applied, you still need to keep up your daily oral hygiene. This includes brushing daily in the morning and at night, as well as flossing daily. You should also see your dentist for a check up and routine cleaning at least once every six months. You should also make sure that you’re getting enough fluoride both at the dentist and at home by using fluoride toothpaste and drinking tap-water.
Oral Cancer Screening
Dental Sealants FAQ:
Dental sealants are covered by some insurance plans, but not by others. Call your dental insurance provider to see what kind of coverage you have.
Dental sealants typically last for several years, but your dentist will check to make sure they are still in good condition at each check up.
It’s recommended that children whose teeth are still developing get dental sealant replacements every few years until their teeth and mouth are fully grown.
Ideally, children should get dental sealants as soon as their molars begin to grow in. This can protect their teeth from cavities from the start.
Do You Have More Questions About Dental Sealants?
If you have more questions about dental sealants or any other dental procedures, please contact us or schedule an appointment at one of our southern Maine locations: South Portland, Biddeford, and Topsham. A dental professional would be happy to speak with you about dental sealants and their purpose, application, and upkeep.