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How Do Sealants Help Prevent Tooth Decay?

One of the most popular spots for bacteria to settle in and cause cavities is on the molars. Just think of all those grooves – they’re tough to get clean! Regular brushing and flossing are your best bet against these cavities, but your dentist can also treat your teeth with a sealant to provide an extra level of protection. Read on to find out more about them.

What Are Sealants?

Sealants are a thin, protective, plastic coating that adhere to the top surface of your molars. They prevent decay by creating a barrier between your teeth and bacteria and acid in your mouth.

Sealants can help prevent cavities and halt further delay when placed over existing cavities. In fact, they’ve been shown to reduce the risk of decay in molars by 80%, which explains why they’re one of the most popular dental services.

Who Should Get Them?

Both adults and children can get sealants, but they’re especially important for children, who may not yet have the best brushing habits.

The earlier you get sealants, the better. Children should ideally get them right after their molars emerge so they’re cavity-free right from the start.

How Are They Applied?

Sealant application is a quick, painless process that can be done at your regular preventative care cleaning. There are no side effects except for fewer cavities (unless you have an allergy).

First, the dentist cleans and dries your teeth. Then an acidic gel is put on your teeth to rough up the surface. The gel is rinsed off, the teeth are dried again, and then the sealant is applied. Finally, the dentist hardens the sealant with a special blue light.

How Long Do They Last?

Sealants last for several years. Your dentist will check them at your regular preventative care visits and re-apply them as needed.

Sealants are a good idea for most people. They’re a quick, easy way to protect your most vulnerable teeth and they last a while. The next time you’re at the dentist, ask if sealants are one of their dental services and if they’re right for you.