Brushing and flossing are the best ways to help prevent cavities. However, it is not always easy to clean every nook and cranny of your teeth. Especially those back teeth you use to chew. These are called molars. Molars are rough and uneven making them an ideal place for bacteria and leftover food.
There is another preventive aid in keeping your teeth clean. It’s called a sealant, and it is a thin, protective coating (made from plastic resin that does not contain BPA) that adheres to the chewing surface of your back teeth. Sealants can keep cavities from forming in the chewing surfaces of teeth and may even stop early stages of decay from becoming a full-blown cavity.
Below are some answers to commonly asked questions pertaining to sealants.
How Do Sealants Work?
Think of them as a protective cover for your teeth. When the cavity-causing bacteria that live in everyone’s mouth meet leftover food particles, they produce acids that can create holes in teeth. These holes are cavities. After sealant has been applied, it keeps those bits of food out and stops bacteria and acid from settling on your teeth.
Who Can Get Sealants?
Children and adults can benefit from sealants, but the earlier you get them, the better. Your first molars appear around age 6, and second molars break through around age 12. Sealing these teeth as soon as they come through can keep them cavity-free from the start, which helps save time and money in the long run.
How Are Sealants Applied?
It’s a quick and painless process. Your dentist will clean and dry your tooth before placing a cleaning gel on your teeth. This gel roughs up your tooth surface so a strong bond will form between your tooth and the sealant. After a few seconds, your dentist will rinse off the gel and dry your tooth once again before applying the sealant onto the grooves of your tooth. Your dentist will then use a special blue light to harden the sealant.
Are There Any Side Effects?
There are no known side effects from sealants.
How Long Do Sealants Last?
The Sealants will often last for several years before they need to be reapplied. During your regular dental visit, your dentist will check the condition of the sealant and can reapply them as needed.