Imagine a barrier applied to teeth that can effectively prevent tooth decay! That's the miracle-working power of dental sealants, a thin plastic film (usually either white, pink, orange, or yellow) applied to the chewing surfaces of back teeth and other teeth with deep grooves. They act as a dental fortress, sealing out small food particles and cavity-causing bacteria.
Scientific studies have proven that sealants are greater than 90% effective in protecting teeth from decay. As long as the sealant remains intact, cavity-causing food particles and bacteria cannot penetrate.
Sealants provide protection for three to five years. They serve as an excellent safeguard against cavities, especially critical for children in protecting their teeth during cavity-prone years. Adults also can benefit from sealant protection, particularly those susceptible to decay. Regular dental check-ups with your pediatric dentist are important for monitoring the durability of the sealants' bond.
Protecting children's permanent teeth from cavities is a dental health priority. Sealants are designed to protect the chewing surfaces of teeth since they're the most susceptible to the formation of cavities. Fluoride products and treatments don't provide the same type of cavity protection as do sealants. Sealants are superior in penetrating the grooved surfaces of teeth. Without the protection of sealants, 95% of people eventually get cavities in the grooved surfaces of their teeth. It makes sense to beat the odds and protect them from becoming a statistic.
Sealant treatment is painless and quick, taking just a few minutes for each tooth. The first step is cleaning and rinsing the surface of the tooth. A cleansing gel is applied to the tooth, and 15 seconds later, rinsed away with water. The dentist then applies the sealant and it is allowed to harden, often times by using a special blue curing light. In less than an hour, teeth receive years of protection against cavities. Sealants have been approved by the American Dental Association Council on Dental Therapeutics since 1972, offering patients safe, effective, and painless protection against cavities. The latest generation of sealants actually can release fluoride if needed, to add double protection to the teeth.
by Brian J. Gray, DDS, MAGD, FICO