Dental sealants are a plastic coating placed over molars to protect them from cavities. Many people think they’re just for children, but adults can benefit from them as well. If you have deep crevices in your molars, it can be hard to clean them. Food and bacteria trapped in your molars make them vulnerable to cavities that can develop into infected teeth. Dental sealants ensure that your teeth stay protected.
Why Dental Sealants Are Needed
Sealing off your teeth to prevent cavities might seem like an unusual and extraordinary step, but there is a good reason why it’s often necessary. Our teeth reflect our prehistoric past when people ate a lot of coarse food that was low in nutrition. At that time, the deep, craggy crowns helped us grind up the tough food and were at low risk from decay.
Today our food is both softer from processing and more nutritious. This means that the main threat to your teeth isn’t the grinding and wear, it’s the potential for high-energy foods getting caught in the crevices where they aren’t accessible to your toothbrush and promote the growth of bacteria. Acid secretions from the bacteria eat away at your teeth, causing cavities.
Are Sealants Effective?
A large review of the science of dental sealants shows they are effective at preventing cavities. They are especially effective for people with very deep molars. We can evaluate your teeth and help you decide whether they’re right for you. We will also let you know whether your insurance company covers sealants.
How Dental Sealants Are Applied
Before you get dental sealants, we make sure your teeth are free of decay. We will remove any cavities and apply fillings as necessary. Then your teeth are cleaned with a special wash that removes absolutely every contaminant and textures your tooth surface to improve the bond with the plastic coating. We’ll rinse the wash off, dry your teeth, then apply the liquid coating. A curing light causes the sealant to harden.
It doesn’t take long to get sealants, between ten and 45 minutes depending on how many teeth need sealing.