If you have children and they are under the care of a dentist, you have probably heard of dental sealants. Dental sealants are one component of a preventive dental health plan and are designed to prevent tooth decay (cavities) on the chewing surfaces of the teeth in the back of the mouth. But do they really work in preventing cavities? Research shows that they do.
A dental sealant is a thin, plastic coating that is painted on the chewing surfaces of the teeth in the back of the mouth (molars and premolars) to prevent tooth decay. After it is applied, the sealant quickly bonds to the depressions and grooves of the teeth and forms a protective shield over the tooth’s enamel. This protective shield serves to seal out plaque and food, the two major causes of tooth decay. Typically, sealants are used on children. Most children get sealants on their permanent molars and premolars as soon as these teeth come in. That way, the sealants can protect the teeth through the cavity-prone years of ages 6 to 14. In some cases, sealants can also be used for adults. Adults without decay or fillings in their molars can also benefit from sealants.
While sealants are effective in preventing tooth decay in the molars and premolars, they do not take the place of good dental hygiene. Thorough daily brushing and flossing is still needed to prevent cavities from developing. In addition to sealants, fluoride treatments are also used to strengthen teeth and make them more resistant to decay.
If you would like to get more information about dental sealants or to find out if you are a candidate for this preventive dental treatment, talk to your dentist today.
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