The most effective way to prevent cavities is by brushing and flossing a minimum of twice daily. Even for the most diligent brushers thoroughly cleaning the deep uneven grooves on molars can prove challenging. These deep uneven grooves are an ideal home for bacteria to live and eventually cause cavities. Dental sealants are used, especially in children, to help prevent cavities by creating a protective coating over the grooves.
Wondering who is a good candidate for sealants? Both children and adults can benefit from having dental sealants, but children between the ages of six and fourteen will see the most benefit from receiving dental sealants. Applying sealants should be applied shortly after the first and second molars have come in to help keep cavities away while children are still working on their brushing techniques. Adults can also benefit from sealants being applied; if your dentist notices a potential trouble spot applying a sealant can help it from becoming a bigger issue.
The process of having sealants applied is quick and painless. First, we will thoroughly clean and dry the teeth that will be getting the sealants applied. Next an acidic gel will be applied to roughen the teeth’s chewing surface, which will help the sealant form a strong bond. The gel is then rinsed away, and your teeth are then thoroughly dried; the sealant will then be applied onto the grooves of the chewing surface and then hardened using a special blue light. Once the sealant has finished hardening you can brush, chew, and floss normally.
Research has shown that the risk of decay in molars is reduced by almost 80% when sealants are used. On average sealants last for 10 years. During your routine dental exams your dentist will check to make sure the sealant hasn’t started to chip or show signs of wearing, and if needed the sealant can be reapplied.