If you or your children are prone to cavities, you might be interested in dental sealants to help prevent those cavities.
But you have questions: What exactly is the dentist using to seal your teeth? Is the process safe? How long do the sealants last? Are they really effective?
Thankfully, you’ve come to the right place for answers. Dr. Minh Nguyen and the team at Portrait Dental are experts in dental sealants. Here’s what you need to know:
What are dental sealants?
Though you should never stop brushing and flossing every day to keep your teeth healthy and free from harmful bacteria and food particles, another weapon in the war against cavities may prove helpful as well: dental sealants.
Dental sealants are thin coatings of acrylic or plastic that are painted onto the chewing surfaces of your back teeth (your molars). Once the sealant hardens, it shields and protects your teeth from those harmful bacteria that begin the process of tooth decay, leading to cavities.
Sealants are especially effective in the pits, depressions, and deep grooves of your teeth, which are areas that are hard to reach with a toothbrush or floss. The sealant keeps bacteria from settling in those areas, similar to the way a raincoat deflects water droplets from you.
Sealants are three times more effective at preventing cavities in kids than not having any sealants at all.
How does the sealant process work?
Applying sealant to your teeth is a quick and painless process that requires no numbing or incisions. Dr. Nguyen will apply a small amount of acid etching solution to your teeth to rough up the surface, which helps the sealant bond correctly. Then, he’ll paint the sealant onto the surface of each molar. Once the sealant hardens, you’ll be protected against cavities.
How long do dental sealants last?
The CDC says sealants protect against 80% of cavities for two years and 50% of cavities for four years; they have also been shown to still work nine years after placement.
You don’t have to remove them to replace them with new sealants — they will slowly wear away by themselves over time. Your dentist can check on the condition of your sealants at your regular dental exams each year, and if they have worn away, applying new sealants is a simple matter.
Sealants are more commonly used in children, but they’re effective for adults as well in preventing tooth decay and cavities.
If you’re interested in dental sealants for yourself or your children, contact Portrait Dental today. You can call the office or book your own appointment with our online scheduler. The procedure is quick, painless, and effective — call today!