When Should Sealants be Applied to the Teeth?
Dental health is a crucial aspect of overall well-being, as your mouth serves as the gateway to your body. Despite the importance of oral health, many people overlook preventative measures that can be taken to keep their teeth and gums healthy. One such measure is the application of dental sealants. Dental sealants are a protective coating that is applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth to prevent cavities. In this article, we will discuss when sealants should be applied and why they are beneficial.
What are Dental Sealants?
Before discussing the timing of when dental sealants should be applied, it is important to understand what they are. Dental sealants are thin, plastic coatings that are applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth. These teeth have deep grooves and pits that are difficult to clean, which increases the likelihood of decay. Sealants create a barrier that prevents food particles and bacteria from getting trapped in these deep grooves, ultimately reducing the risk of cavities.
When Should Sealants be Applied?
Sealants are most commonly applied when the permanent molars have fully erupted, which typically occurs between the ages of 6 and 12. However, this timeline may vary depending on each child's situation. Your dentist will be able to determine the optimal time for your child based on their individual circumstances.
It is important to note that sealants can also be applied to adults, especially if they have deep pits and grooves on the chewing surfaces of their teeth. Your dentist may recommend sealants if they notice that a patient is at high risk for developing cavities.
How are Sealants Applied?
The process for applying sealants is quick and painless. First, the teeth that will receive sealants are thoroughly cleaned and dried. Then, an acidic solution is applied to the teeth to roughen the surface and help the sealant bond to the tooth. This solution is then rinsed off and the teeth are dried again. Finally, the sealant material is applied to the chewing surfaces of the teeth and cured with a special light. The entire procedure usually takes only a few minutes per tooth.
Benefits of Dental Sealants
One of the main benefits of dental sealants is that they can help prevent cavities, which can save you time and money in the long run. It is much easier and less expensive to apply sealants than it is to treat a cavity. Additionally, dental sealants are a non-invasive preventative measure that does not require any drilling or removal of tooth structure.
Sealants are also beneficial because they can be used to protect teeth in hard-to-reach areas of the mouth. The back teeth are notoriously difficult to clean, even with regular brushing and flossing. Sealants provide an extra layer of protection that helps keep these teeth healthy.
Another advantage of sealants is that they are a long-lasting solution. Sealants can last for up to 10 years with proper care and maintenance. This means that they can provide long-term protection against cavities and other oral health problems.
Dental sealants are a valuable preventative measure that can help keep your teeth healthy and reduce the likelihood of developing cavities. They are most commonly applied to children when their permanent molars have erupted, but can also be used for adults with deep pits and grooves on their teeth. If you are interested in learning more about sealants or want to schedule an appointment to have them applied, speak to your dentist today..