This dental expert explains why sealants are a great alternative for your kids.
Dental sealants, introduced in the 1960s, are a plastic coating, similar to a filling, placed in the deep grooves and pits on your teeth. Because of the shape and location of these grooves, they are often hard and sometimes impossible to completely clean with your toothbrush making them very susceptible to cavities. They are primarily placed on the permanent molars and premolars.
Sealants act by sealing off the fissures and grooves located on the biting surface of the posterior teeth from food debris and cavity causing bacteria, while also providing a smooth surface that is much easier to clean.
When it comes to placing sealants, earlier is better keeping these teeth cavity free from the start. It is recommended that children get sealants as soon as the first permanent “6 year” molar has erupted, then again when their 2nd “12 year” molar erupts. Several studies have been conducted regarding the effectiveness of sealants and they concluded that teeth without sealants are more than twice as likely to get a cavity as teeth that have been sealed. Sealants on permanent molars reduce the risk of cavities by 80%.
Because sealants generally cost much less than a filling, they are also cost effective by preventing more extensive and expensive dental work. Also sealants are a relatively easy procedure that do not require the patient to be numb making them even more kid friendly.
While it is important that children get sealants, adults can also benefit from them. Many adults had sealants placed as children, but due to time they have worn away. By replacing them, especially in patients who have deep grooves and/or are prone to cavities, adults can make sure they maintain healthy teeth. If bacteria happen to be in the groove where a sealant is placed, the sealant closes off the bacteria to air and food supply from the mouth and can arrest its growth.
Because dental materials have improved significantly in recent years, sealants have a longer life span than when they were first introduced, making them an even better investment. Also you dentist will check your sealants at follow up appointments and repair or replace them as necessary.
To learn more about Sealants or get a free consultations, please contact Soul Dental Chelsea @ 212-201-0766.