The newsLINK Group - Why Dental Sealants Make Sense

Editorial Library Category: General Business | Dental | Pediatric Dentistry Topics: Dental Sealants Title: Why Dental Sealants Make Sense Author: newsLINK Staff Synopsis: Despite the best efforts people and dentists make to keep teeth free of cavities, sometimes a cavity will develop anyway just because chewing surfaces have deep grooves and pits in them. Editorial: Why Dental Sealants Make Sense 4064 South Highland Drive, Millcreek, Utah 84124 │ │ (v) 801.676.9722 │ (tf) 855.747.4003 │ (f) 801.742.5803 Editorial Library | © The newsLINK Group LLC 1 Understanding Dental Sealants Despite the best efforts people and dentists make to keep teeth free of cavities, sometimes a cavity will develop anyway just because chewing surfaces have deep grooves and pits in them. Keeping plaque completely off those surfaces can difficult, which leads in time to the development of cavities. At the same time, some people have less of a problem with plaque on the premolars or molars. Why? It has to do with how thick their tooth enamel is. However, even if you are one of those unlucky people whose enamel is not thick enough to prevent cavities from developing, the dentist can make up for it by applying sealants to the problem areas. Sealants are made from a plastic resin that can be applied easily and quickly to your chewing surfaces. The sealant can be clear, white, or slightly tinted to match your teeth. Once it has been applied you can’t tell that it is there, even when you smile or talk, but it puts a tough, effective barrier between the plaque and the surface of your tooth. You might be able to tell that it is there by touching it with your tongue, but it is extremely thin and the difference is a subtle one. One application of sealant is usually good for as long as five years or even a decade, although your dentist will want to check the sealant when you go in every six months to make sure it is still preventing cavities. If the sealant does need to be reapplied, it’s an easy process. A Total Preventive Program Sealants do not substitute for things like brushing, flossing, rinsing, fluoride, or regular dental checkups. After all, sealants are just one tool that can help you prevent cavities from forming. Not getting cavities at all is always a good thing, because cavities do permanent damage to your teeth, and every time a dentist has to drill in a tooth, the tooth is going to be a little weaker than it was before. Why Sealants Make Sense for Children Sealants can be an effective tool for protecting a child’s teeth because children often have a hard time taking good care of their teeth. They are more likely to skip brushing their teeth (unless their parents are really diligent about insisting on that), they often don’t brush as thoroughly or as long as they ought to, and sometimes they end up eating a lot of candy, with or without their parents’ knowledge. One mother couldn’t understand why the dentist was always finding cavities, because she didn’t think her daughter ate a lot of sweets. What she didn’t know at the time was that her daughter’s preschool teacher was handing out frosted cookies on a regular basis; the cavities stopped when her daughter started kindergarten. It’s no fun for any child when a cavity has to be filled. Prevention is a far more sensible approach. It is much more comfortable for the child, and it’s also easier for the parents and the dentist. Why Sealants Make Sense for Adults Sealants can be a good idea for adults as well as children. Some people just don’t have very thick enamel, leaving them more vulnerable to developing cavities even if they take good care of their teeth. And for those who have thick enamel, it can wear away over time. Tooth enamel that was once an effective barrier for cavities may become thin enough to require a little reinforcement. It’s best to discuss the situation with your dentist. What may not have made sense at one point may make excellent sense several years later. How Sealant Is Applied When a dentist applies sealant to your tooth, the first step is to clean the teeth. The dentist applies a special gel that roughens up the chewing surface a little so that the sealant will stick better to the surface of the tooth. The dentist then paints the sealant directly onto the tooth. It doesn’t take much time for the sealant to harden into a protective surface — about a minute — and sometimes the dentist will also use a curing light to help the hardening process along.