Patients who are particularly susceptible to cavities may need to take additional steps beyond brushing and flossing to protect their teeth. In such cases, dentists may use dental sealants as an extra safeguard for patients’ pearly whites.
Dental sealants may also be beneficial for patients who don’t have access to enough fluoride, such as those who live in communities without fluoridated water.
This treatment involves a thin layer of plastic that creates a seal between the tooth and the rest of the mouth. The sealant is applied in liquid form and then hardened, or cured, using a special light. The whole process happens right in the office and it takes only about a half hour, at most.
Dental sealants are most often applied to the molars, which have larger chewing surfaces along with pits and grooves in which bacteria and bits of food can collect. It can be difficult to keep those areas totally clean.
Because children sometimes are not yet adept at brushing and flossing, dental sealants have a great deal of value for patients in this age group. Kids are also inclined to choose sweet, sticky foods as treats.
Although a dentist often recommends dental sealants for pediatric patients, teenagers and adults may also need to have the treatment. The premolars and molars continue to have a high likelihood of decay, in comparison with the other teeth, well into adulthood.
Dental sealants are very affordable, and the investment is even more worthwhile when you consider the potential outcomes of postponing treatment until decay is present. To put it in perspective, a sealant costs less than a filling. The treatment is less invasive, too.
Even when dental sealants are in place, patients still need to be fastidious about brushing and flossing. Although they are quite durable, lasting for up to a decade, sealants still need to be restored and repaired periodically to ensure that the patient gets maximum protection.
For more information on dental sealants, contact the North Austin office of Dr. Paul Lounsberry at 512-200-7422 today.