A sealant is an opaque colored resin material that is applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth (premolars and molars), where decay occurs most often. This sealant acts as a barrier, protecting the decay-prone areas of the back teeth from plaque and acid.
WHO NEEDS DENTAL SEALANTS?
Kids are notoriously bad brushers and tend to ignore the problem areas in the back of the mouth that lead to cavities and decay, making them the prime target market for sealants. (However, if adults have certain problem areas that could be cured with sealants, this could be an option for them too.) The American Dental Association recommends that kids receive dental sealants as soon as their adult teeth erupt.
Those who are more susceptible to cavities and decay – whether that is because they are genetically prone to cavities, don’t have great oral hygiene habits, or lack access to dental care – should consider getting dental sealants as a preventative measure.
HOW DO DENTAL SEALANTS WORK?
Dental sealants fill in and smooth out the grooves and fissures in your teeth that tend to hide food particles and attract cavity-causing bacteria. According to the American Dental Association, sealants work by “’sealing out’ food and plaque… [because] toothbrush bristles cannot reach all the way into the depressions and grooves.”
HOW LONG DO DENTAL SEALANTS LAST?
Dental sealants can protect the teeth for up to 5 years, but need to be checked frequently by a dentist for cracks. If dental sealants are worn down, it’s possible for decay to get under the sealant.
ARE DENTAL SEALANTS EFFECTIVE?
Dental sealants have been shown to reduce the risk of cavities in the teeth that are covered. According to the American Dental Association, decades of research demonstrate that coating the biting surface of 6-year molars with a resin-based sealant can reduce cavities by up to nearly 80% immediately, and up to 60% for four years or more.
Using Fluoride to Protect Your Teeth
You brush your teeth twice a day, floss regularly, and visit the dentist every six months, but did you know that rinsing with fluoride — a mineral that helps prevent cavities and tooth decay — also helps keep your teeth healthy and strong?
Fluoride is effective in preventing cavities and tooth decay by coating your teeth and preventing plaque from building up and hardening on the tooth’s surface.
Fluoride comes in two varieties, systemic and topical
- Systemic fluoride is ingested, usually through a public water supply. While teeth are forming under the gums, the fluoride strengthens tooth enamel, and makes it stronger and more resistant to cavities.
- Fluoride can also be applied topically to help prevent caries (cavities) on teeth present in the mouth. It is delivered through toothpaste, mouthwash, and professional fluoride applications.
A fluoride treatment in our office takes just a few minutes. After the treatment, you may be asked not to rinse, eat, or drink for at least 30 minutes in order to allow the teeth to absorb the fluoride.
Depending on your oral health or Dr. Dena’s recommendation, you may be required to have a fluoride treatment every 6 or 12 months.
How to choose the right fluoride treatment
When choosing your at-home fluoride product (such as toothpaste or mouthwash), always check for the American Dental Association’s (ADA) seal of acceptance. Products marked with the ADA seal of approval have been carefully examined by the ADA, and approved based on safety and effectiveness. Take care of your teeth and smile bright with dental fluoride treatments!