Brushing and flossing go a long way to help prevent cavities. However, this is not one hundred percent effective for cleaning every nook and cranny, especially the back molars. Your dentist may recommend a dental sealant to help keep molars clean as it can protect against cavities and may even stop the early stages of tooth decay. Searching for dental services in Columbia, Maryland? Reach out to the Columbia Smiles team today. You can call 410.690.4855 or contact us online to get started.
What Is Sealant for Teeth?
Dental sealant is a thin, plastic coating that’s painted on the chewing surfaces of teeth—typically the back teeth, which are the premolars and molars—to prevent tooth decay. The sealant quickly bonds into the grooves and depressions of the teeth, and the bond forms a protective shield over the enamel of each tooth. Hence the name sealant; it seals out plaque and food from the back teeth.
Studies show that dental sealant reduces the risk of decay by up to 80% in molars. Having the dentist use sealant is especially important when it comes to younger patients. In fact, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released a report on the importance of dental sealant for school-aged children, of which only 43% of children ages 6–11 have had sealant placed on their teeth.
How Does Oral Sealant Work?
Now that you know what dental sealant is, let’s explore how it works. When the cavity-causing bacteria in the mouth interacts with leftover food particles, acids are produced which may create holes in teeth. These holes are the cavities that everyone tries to avoid. After the dental sealant has been applied, it keeps those bits of food out and stops bacteria and acid from settling on your teeth, just like a raincoat keeping the body dry during a rainstorm.
Applying oral sealant is a painless and simple procedure. It takes only a few minutes for your dentist to apply the sealant to seal each tooth, following these steps:
- Teeth that are to be sealed are cleaned
- Each tooth is then dried, and absorbent material is placed around the teeth to help them stay dry
- An acid solution is placed on the chewing surfaces of the teeth to roughen them up
- The teeth are rinsed and dried again
- Sealant is painted onto each tooth’s enamel, where it bonds to the tooth and hardens
- Sometimes, the dentist uses a special curing light to help the sealant harden
Sealants can protect teeth from decay for up to 10 years. However, they need to be checked for chipping or wearing at regular dental appointments. Your dentist can then replace sealants as necessary.
When Should You Consider Dental Services?
When it comes to dental services, it’s not an option. You and your family members need to take care of your oral health by going to regular dental appointments.
Both children and adult patients can benefit from oral sealant, but they’re more beneficial the earlier you get them. Everyone’s first molars appear around age six, and second molars break through around age 12. Sealing these teeth as soon as they come through can help keep them cavity-free from the start, which helps save money and time in the long run. Ask your dentist if dental sealant is a good option for you and your family.
Ready to Learn More About Columbia Smiles?
If you’re looking for dental services in Columbia, Maryland, contact Dr. Michael Hsu at Columbia Smiles today. You can call 410.690.4855 or reach out to our team online.