The Benefits of Dental Sealants
Any dentist would tell you that preventing cavities from ever happening should be the end goal of all good dental hygiene practices. While we have come a long way in how cavities can be treated and dealt with, preventing them from ever happening is still the most effective and least expensive way of taking care of your oral health. Brushing twice a day, flossing, and having frequent dental checkups are all done with this exact goal in mind. A lesser-known yet extremely effective way of preventing cavities is by using dental sealants.
Dental sealants are thin plastic coatings that are applied to the chewing surfaces of molar teeth. They act as a protective layer between the teeth and cavity-causing bacteria, protecting the teeth for a long period of time with minimal intervention. Sealants are especially effective for smaller children whose developing teeth and dietary habits make them susceptible to cavities. Let us look at some of the benefits offered by dental sealants.
Protection from Plaque and Foods
As the name suggests, sealants create a protective seal around the chewing surface of the molars. This is done by filling the tiny pits and fissures on the molar surface. These fissures
are too deep for brushes to effectively clean and could, over time, aid in the buildup of plaque, resulting in cavities.
Without insurance, sealants can cost around $30–$40 per tooth. While this may sound expensive, especially for a procedure with no immediate gains, it is still considerably cheaper than the thousands of dollars that you might have to spend treating cavities. Crowns and root canal treatments for cavities regularly cost upwards of a thousand dollars without insurance.
For most people, the childhood and teenage years are the most cavity-prone periods of their lives. Applying sealants once during this period can provide long-lasting protection against cavities. While sealants are the most effective 2-3 after the initial application, with proper care, they can last for up to a decade and still provide some form of protection against cavities.
The application process for sealants is quick and easy. After cleaning the teeth and prepping, the main application takes only a few minutes. It is painless and non-invasive and does not require any form of anesthesia. The dentist may use a syringe to accurately apply the sealant material onto the pits and fissures of the molars. Care must be taken not to overapply the material, as this can affect the functioning of the teeth.
In addition to lasting for a long time, sealants are also highly durable. They don’t sustain damage from regular use or activities like chewing and biting. The resin used in sealants hardens and cures with exposure to light. The curing process is also quick, taking just under a minute to complete. The high durability also means that you won’t have to constantly get your sealants checked for damage. Your dentist only needs to check the sealants during your regular annual or biannual dental checkups.
Easy to Maintain
While they are durable and long-lasting, heavy force or injuries can sometimes cause damage to sealants. The sealant can also be worn out over the years and lose some of its effectiveness. Yet they are considerably easier to maintain than other dental fixtures like crowns and implants. When wear or damage is detected, your dentist can easily clean off the affected area and apply more sealant.
Overall, sealants are an effective, durable, long-lasting, and inexpensive dental treatment that can go a long way in preventing cavities. Dental sealants for kids are quickly gaining popularity in the country as parents realize the steep cost of treating cavities and tooth decay. One important thing to note is that while sealants are effective in treating cavities, they cannot become a replacement for other oral hygiene practices like regular brushing, flossing, dental checkups, etc. This is because sealants focus only on the chewing part of the molars. Cavities can still occur in other parts of the teeth if one does not follow daily oral care. Discuss with your dentist how you can effectively integrate sealants into your oral hygiene routine and achieve maximum protection from cavities.
Here at Parkview Dental, our team of dental professionals can assist you and your child in getting high-quality sealants, bringing you one step closer to effectively preventing cavities. Call us at 480-818-9016 or schedule an appointment online using our website.