While proper dental hygiene is the best way to prevent cavities, with brushing your teeth twice daily, flossing once daily, and seeing a dentist for regular cleanings, there’s more that can be done to protect your teeth. Dental sealants can be applied in order to help keep your teeth clean, especially in those hard to reach areas like your molars. Who needs dental sealants, though? Should everyone get dental sealants, if their purpose is to assist in keeping your pearly whites healthy and staving off decay?
Here’s what you need to know about who needs dental sealants and how they work.
What Are Dental Sealants?
Dental sealants are essentially a thin protective layer over your teeth. They’re a thin, plastic coating that your dentist will paint onto the chewing surfaces of your teeth in order to prevent decay. They’re mostly applied to the back teeth, since they are more susceptible to cavities. Your dental sealants will bond to the grooves and depressions of your teeth in order to form a protective shield over the enamel, sealing out food and plaque that can cause cavities.
You see why people ask who needs dental sealants when it seems like everyone could benefit from them. Or are they simply for those who are more prone to cavities? When you know their purpose, you’ll definitely want to know who needs dental sealants, and if you’re someone who does.
Who Needs Dental Sealants?
Because children and teenagers are more susceptible to cavities, the answer to who needs dental sealants is largely that age group, although adults can get them too. If you’re an adult who doesn’t have fillings in your molars or any decay, you can benefit from sealants, too. In generally, the reason why who needs dental sealants is largely children and teenagers is because they can typically benefit the most from them.
Since you get your first molars when you’re about six years old and your second when you’re about twelve years old, this is when they can first be applied. The earlier, the better when it comes to sealants, hence why the answer to ‘who needs dental sealants’ includes kids as young as six years old. Having dental sealants applied as soon as the teeth break through the gums can help keep them cavity-free from the very start.
In some cases, ‘who needs dental sealants’ can extend to children with baby teeth, since your baby teeth play such an important role in the development and spacing of your permanent teeth. But as mentioned earlier, just because the answer to ‘who needs dental sealants’ predominantly talks about children, that doesn’t mean an adult can’t get them. Dental sealants can go a long way to improve your smile and dental health. If you’re wondering if you’re a good candidate for dental sealants, it’s best to ask your dentist.
How Are Dental Sealants Applied?
Since so many dental procedures require anesthesia, you may be nervous about how dental sealants are applied, and whether or not you’ll need to have a numb mouth for a few hours after application. You’ll be pleased to learn that the process of applying dental sealants is quite quick and painless. Generally, it only takes your dentist a handful of minutes to seal your teeth, and then you’re free to go.
Here’s what you need to know about the dental sealant application process:
- It starts with thoroughly cleaning the teeth that are going to be sealed.
- Then, your teeth are dried and an absorbent material, such as cotton, is used in order to keep it that way.
- Your dentist will then put an acid solution on the chewing surfaces of your teeth. The roughness of this solution will help the sealant bond.
- Once this is done, your dentist will rinse and then dry your teeth.
- Finally, the sealant is painted onto the enamel of your teeth. It will bond to them and then harden. In some cases, your dentist will need to use a curing light in order to speed the curing process along.
How Long Do Dental Sealants Last?
As with any dental procedure, and especially knowing now that who needs dental sealants is largely the younger population, you’ll want to know how long you can expect dental sealants to last before they need to be replaced. In general, sealants will last for up to 10 years, although wear and tear and chipping can shorten that lifespan. If needed, your dentist will be able to replace your sealants.