If you have children, you are probably familiar with dental sealants. Pediatric dentists often recommend placing these sealants on a child's teeth as soon as the molars fully erupt. Dental sealants are designed to offer an extra layer of protection on the child's teeth, and the goal of this is to prevent cavities from forming and destroying teeth. While dental sealants are often used on children's teeth, you may not realize that adults can also get these. Here are three things you should know if you are interested in getting sealants on your teeth.
What They Are
A dental sealant is a protective coating applied directly to the chewing surface of a tooth. The material is in liquid form when it is applied, but it hardens as it dries. Because it is liquid, a dentist is able to coat the chewing surface, including the grooves on a tooth, with the liquid, and this simply serves as a layer of protection.
When children get sealants, they are less likely to develop cavities. Pediatric dentists do this as a way of helping children keep their teeth healthy, and they do this because they know that children do not always have the best brushing habits and skills. This leaves kids prone to cavities, but cavities are not good for people of any age.
Sealants are highly effective for cavity-prevention, and studies show that during the first two years of having sealants, they are able to stop 80% of all cavities from forming. As time goes on, they become less effective, and eventually they may need to be replaced.
How They Are Applied
Applying a dental sealant to a tooth is fast and easy, and it does not require the use of anesthesia, because it does not hurt at all. This process is completed in several steps, and the first step involves cleaning the tooth and drying it. Once this is complete, the dentist will need to etch the tooth slightly. This simply helps roughen up the tooth a little so the sealant material will adhere well to it. After this, the dentist once again cleans and dries the tooth and then applies the sealant to it. The final step is hardening the material, and this often involves the use of a heat light. The sealant will last for around 10 years.
Factors That Can Affect Adults Getting Sealants
While these are more common with children, adults can also get sealants and benefit from them. One of the main factors you should realize is that sealants do not adhere well to filling material. This means that if you have a filling in a tooth, you probably cannot get a sealant on that tooth. Sealants work best on teeth that have never had cavities or fillings on them. The best way to use sealants is to begin getting them when you are young, and then to continue having them replaced as needed.
It is sometimes hard for a dentist to tell how well a sealant is working, simply because sealants are clear, but most dentists will recommend replacing them every ten years. If you decide to get sealants for your teeth, it could make a big difference in the number of cavities you develop. You will still need to maintain good oral care habits, even if you have sealants, and you should still continue visiting a dentist every six months for checkups.
If you want to take extra steps to protect your teeth from cavities, getting dental sealants might be a good idea. If you have questions about this or would like to learn more about dental sealants, visit resources like http://www.fortcollinsdentist.com.