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Franklyn Alexander, DDS
General & Cosmetic Dentistry

Patients Choice Winner 2016

Consider Dental Sealants for Added Cavity Protection

It can be hard to keep kids away from candy and sweets, and even harder to get them to brush their teeth frequently and properly. Even as an adult, you may find that regular dental hygiene is not enough to fight off cavities. Children and adults can both benefit from dental sealants as an easy and effective way to aid in cavity prevention.

How Dental Sealants Work

Dental sealants are used on the premolars and molars in the back of the mouth, as the surfaces of these teeth have grooves that hold food and increase the chance of decay. A plastic resin is painted onto the surface, where it bonds to the tooth and hardens. It is then set with an ultraviolet light.

An appointment for dental sealants only takes a short amount of time and they can last for 5 to 10 years. A dentist will check them at subsequent hygiene appointments and can always reapply them if necessary.

How Dental Sealants Help

According to the American Dental Association, a dental sealant treatment decreases cavities immediately by 80%. Over the next several years, cavities are reduced by at least 60%.

Sealants also save the time and money involved in filling cavities. Each time a tooth is drilled, it becomes weaker. Sealants are able to prevent drilling and filling, leading to stronger teeth and fewer dentist visits.

Who Should Consider Dental Sealants?

Children are prime candidates for dental sealants once permanent molars start to come in. The first set of molars usually appears at age 6, while secondary molars erupt around age 12. To best prevent against decay, sealant should be applied right after the teeth appear.

Not all children require dental sealants. Some have exceptionally good oral hygiene practices or strong teeth that aren’t prone to decay. It’s best to consult with your dentist to determine if the treatment would be beneficial for your child.

Even if sealants aren’t applied during childhood, they can still provide benefits. For this reason, teenagers and adults still receive the treatment. Some people have deeper depressions in their molars, which makes them more prone to harboring the bacteria that lead to cavities. Dental sealants can prove useful in cases like this as well.