Although you may have been a young child, most likely you haven’t forgotten the day you realized you had your first cavity. Maybe you bit into some bubble gum and felt the painful zing that shot up into your gums, or maybe the pain crept in over time. Either way, it’s probable that you remember the whole experience wasn’t too pleasant, including the point where you had to get the filling. Thankfully, there is a way for that whole experience to be avoided for your children, and even into your adult life and it’s with the application of dental sealants.
What Are They?
Dental sealants are clear in color, and applied to the chewing surface of the teeth to act as a barrier or guard from all of the plaque that accumulates from the natural acids and food we eat. The molars in the backs of our mouths are especially hard to clean, so sealant can really help with preventing plaque buildup, cavities, and tooth decay. The CDC states that dental sealants prevent 80% of cavities in the first two years and 50% of cavities within the first four years.
This is especially great for children, as they’re not always the best at cleaning their own teeth so they’re prone to more cavities. For this reason, it is recommended that children get sealants as soon as possible. Most commonly, dental sealants can be applied as early as age six. Although it’s recommended for children to get them done as soon as they can, adults can get dental sealants too! Even if a cavity is present, sealants can be applied on top of a filling, preventing future damage to the tooth.
The process is quick, pain-free, and easy. First, the teeth are cleaned and dried. Then a special compound is applied to help the sealant stick. The teeth are then rinsed and dried again, and the sealant is finally applied with a special brush. The bite down may feel a little different due to the added layer, but the sealant will form to fit the shape of the mouth at rest over a few days.
Some people say that dental sealants can be dangerous because they contain BPA. However, a study from the American Dental Association shows that the levels are very low, in fact, the levels tested out to be a mere .09 nanograms. The U.S. Environmental Agency states that the daily exposure for a six year old child should be no more than 1 million nanograms. Furthermore, it is said that we receive more exposure to BPA through things like food, drinks, sunscreen, and cosmetics. With all of that said, the higher risk is cavities, tooth decay, and overall oral health. Dental sealant offers way more benefits than it does any major dangers.
Length of Protection
Once applied, dental sealants can last for up to ten years. It is possible for them to fall out, chip, or wear away, but that is highly uncommon. As long as the teeth are cared for as usual, the sealant should hold its strength for several years.
Some dental plans cover the expenses for dental sealants or they pay for a percentage of the cost. Check with your insurance company to see what benefits are offered for dental sealants.
Overall, dental sealants are beneficial for oral health. They prevent cavities and tooth decay, are pain free, non-invasive, and are usually covered or discounted by insurance plans. If you are not sure if you or your child should get them, feel free to contact us and we will be happy to go over all it is you need to know further about dental sealants.