General family dentists typically provide a variety of services to help prevent tooth decay. The most common type of treatment is a dental sealant. Dental sealants are thin, protective, plastic coatings that dentists apply to the surface of your back teeth to prevent tooth decay.
Dental sealants act like a shield over your teeth, and prevent food or germs from sinking into the grooves of your back molars. While brushing teeth thoroughly may rid most of the germs, sometimes the bristles cannot penetrate the deepest grooves of the back teeth.
Benefits of Dental Sealants
There are many benefits to dental sealants for children and young adults:
- Lowered risk of tooth decay and cavities
- Lowered costs that would be incurred from fillings, crowns or caps
- Sealants can last up to 10 years
- Provide extra protection against germs and plaque
The Dental Sealant Procedure
The dental sealant process is relatively quick, lasting only a few minutes per tooth. Children and teens can get a dental sealant treatment in just one appointment.
First, we apply a special gel-like material to the surface of the tooth. Once the substance settles, we clean the tooth and apply the dental sealant. The sealant is composed of a plastic coating, which is painted onto the surface of the tooth, making sure to fill even the deepest ridges in the back molars. This will help to seal the tooth and create a protective shield against bacteria that could destroy the enamel. Sometimes a special light is used to help hasten the bonding process. Once the sealant has hardened under the light, the procedure is complete.
Who Should Get Dental Sealants?
Smiles R Us Dentistry suggests that children should opt for dental sealant treatment as soon as their permanent molars grow in. It’s best to prevent bacteria and tooth decay as soon as possible, before they can attack the new teeth.
Young children, ages 6-12, could get dental sealants on their “6 and 12 year molars.” Some young adults that are prone to decay may also opt to get their teeth sealed.
Dental Sealant Results
While sealants help prevent tooth decay and other dental conditions, they are never an alternative to other forms of preventative measures like fluoride toothpaste, mouth wash, brushing teeth, and flossing. Dental sealants act more like a supplementary preventative care treatment. They work with other treatments to promote good oral hygiene.
The cost of dental sealant treatment may vary depending on how many teeth are being sealed, the type of materials used, and the dentist performing the procedure. They also may be covered under certain dental insurance plans.