AVOID CAVITIES WITH DENTAL SEALANTS
Look at your back teeth. The tops of your back teeth are uneven, bumpy, plus crevices that can hide debris, plaque, tartar, and bacteria. These are the things that lead to cavities in addition to other dental problems. Fortunately, there is a simple preventive treatment to help protect your back teeth — dental sealants. A flexible plastic material, dental sealants can be placed on the tops of the back teeth to create a protective barrier between the enamel and damaging plaque and bacteria. A quick, noninvasive procedure, dental sealants can be an important part of a preventive treatment plan created by your dentist in Monaca, PA that protects your teeth from cavities for many years. To help both parents of children who may benefit from dental sealants as well as adults, our team of dental professionals at DentalWorks - Beaver Valley has created a short guide on dental sealants. This blog will help you decide if you or your family members may benefit from dental sealants, what happens during the dental sealant application procedure, and what happens after you get dental sealants.
THE PURPOSE OF DENTAL SEALANTS
One of the most common varieties of cavities are pit and fissure dental caries. Cavities are formed when plaque and bacteria start to decay (erode) the enamel on the outside of the tooth. Brushing your teeth twice a day can help to remove plaque and bacteria before it turns into a cavity, but sometimes this is not enough. The pits and grooves on the tops of your molars and premolars trap plaque and bacteria, which leads to pit and fissure cavities. Dental sealants are a clear barrier that is placed over the tops of the molars and premolars. Dental sealants protect the enamel from food debris, plaque, tartar, and bacteria so it can't turn into cavities. When applied correctly, dental sealants shouldn't be seen or felt, but you will find a difference with better dental exams and fewer issues.
SEALANTS FOR CHILDREN
Before they are teenagers, children will lose their baby teeth and receive their permanent set of teeth. This is problematic because, with very few exceptions, parents have trouble getting their children to brush their teeth twice a day every day like they are supposed to. This is one of the reasons children are more prone to cavities. Dental sealants are a good way to help protect children's teeth while they develop good habits. Ideally, dental sealants should be placed on the primary premolars and molars between the age of 5 – 7 years old and then again as soon as the permanent teeth have erupted from the gumline, generally around 11 – 14 years old. Although many children don't like spending extra time at the dentist for an optional procedure, like dental sealants, it can save them from more procedures, like tooth-colored fillings, by minimizing their risk of cavities. In addition, once a cavity forms in the enamel, it will take a lifetime of treatment since tooth-colored fillings wear out and will need to be replaced every 5 – 20 years.
SEALANTS FOR ADULTS
While dental sealants are more commonly recommended for children, adults may also be good candidates. Although adults are generally much better about brushing and flossing every day, they can still have lapses and even the most diligent brusher is still at risk of getting cavities. Dental sealants can be a great choice for adults who are prone to cavities. While dental sealants are typically not covered by dental insurance for adults, it can be a great investment to help you avoid other expensive treatments, like tooth-colored fillings and crowns. Most dentists don't talk to their adult patients about dental sealants, so if you are interested you should bring it up during your oral health exam. You may also want to talk to your dentist about getting professional fluoride treatments after your bi-annual cleanings to help strengthen your enamel. Like dental sealants, fluoride treatments are generally performed on kids, but they can be helpful for adults and are easy to get.
WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU GET DENTAL SEALANTS
Dental sealants are usually performed after a professional cleaning because your enamel is clean and free of buildup. The dental sealant application is a quick, noninvasive procedure, so anesthesia is not necessary, but it can be added if you have dental fears or anxiety. The clean teeth will be dried and lightly etched to prepare it for the dental sealant. The dental sealant is applied as a liquid and carefully brushed on to the tops of the premolars and molars. Once the sealant is in place, a special light is used to quickly bond the material to your teeth. Your team will check to make certain that the sealant is smooth and hard before they rinse off your mouth and discuss how to take care of your sealants and mouth.
DENTAL SEALANT RECOVERY AND AFTERCARE
Once your dental sealants are set, you can leave and get back to your usual day. Unless you also get a fluoride treatment, you need to be able to eat and drink right away. While dental sealants reduce your risk of pit and fissure cavities, you still have to stick to a good home oral care routine to prevent other sorts of cavities and dental problems. You should brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss at least once per day. If you have questions about technique or what products to use, speak to your dentist. You still have to get an annual oral health exam and bi-annual professional cleanings at your dentist in Monaca, PA. During your examination, your dentist will assess your sealants and help you decide if they have to be re-done. With good care, dental sealants can last up to ten years. Small chips or worn areas can normally be repaired as required with more sealant material during regular appointments.
ASK YOUR DENTIST ABOUT DENTAL SEALANTS
If you're interested in dental sealants for yourself or your family, schedule a consultation with your dentist in Monaca, PA. If you're looking for a wonderful dental practice with experience and the latest dental equipment to make appointments easier, contact DentalWorks - Beaver Valley. Our team of dental professionals takes great care of every patient in Monaca, PA with preventive dental care including oral health examinations, professional cleanings, and dental sealants. Speak to our dental office in Monaca, PA to schedule your consultation so our team can assess your oral health and develop your custom preventive treatment plan that might include dental sealants.