Dental sealants are very common tool that dentists use to help “seal teeth off” and prevent cavities. Here’s all you need to know about dental sealants, and about how they help teeth.
Food left on teeth fuels bad bacteria that cause cavities by giving them the nutrition they need to thrive. Molars are particularly susceptible to cavities because the naturally occurring pit can more easily trap food particles than other teeth. Dental sealants work to prevent cavities by sealing pits and fissures that naturally occur in molars. Sealants “seal off” the pit and fissure to prevent cavities and tooth decay from worsening and keep the tooth healthy.
Most dental sealants are applied to children as their adult molars begin to erupt, between the ages of 6 and 12. Sealants are often applied as a preventative measure to keep food particles out of the pit and fissures in molars. Adults can have sealants applied, but it is not common. Most adults that get sealants do so because their dentist has deemed that their teeth are more susceptible to cavities than normal.
Dental sealants are primarily made of a composite liquid resin that is then cured by light or chemical exposure to adhere to the tooth. Most sealants contain a small, trace amount of BPA, but not nearly enough to cause any harm. In fact, you get more exposure to BPA by touching a receipt or handling makeup powder than dental sealants.
With proper oral care, dental sealants can effectively last for up to 10 years. During dental checkups, your child’s pediatric dentist will inspect their sealants to see if they are holding up well and working properly. If it is not in working condition, the dentist will replace the dental sealant as needed.
Applying sealants is a quick and painless process. There is no drilling or scraping involved. Typically, a dentist will clean the tooth first then apply a gel-bonding agent to it. Then, the dentist will apply the sealant and cure it with a special blue light, or chemical rinse. After the bonding is dry, the dentist will then clean any residue left on the tooth, and the procedure is done!
Does your child have sensitive teeth? If so, they may need dental sealants. You can help your child stay on top of their oral health by scheduling regular dental visits in our office every six months.