What Are Sealants?
Sealants are used most commonly on the permanent back teeth (premolars and molars), and they are the most effective way to prevent tooth decay in both adults and children. Sealants are thin, protective plastic coatings that get painted on the chewing (occlusal) surfaces of the existing molars and form to those surfaces to fill in the cracks (fissures) and holes thus providing a barrier from food, debris and bacteria. These fissures are often deep and difficult to clean as they can be narrower than the single bristle of a toothbrush. Without protection, the plaque may become lodged in the grooves of the chewing teeth. The acid from the bacteria attacks the enamel causing decay and, eventually, cavities.
Do I Need To Get Sealants?
At the Dental Studio of South Tulsa, we believe that prevention is always better than uncomfortable dental work that takes time and money. We also know that every patient’s situation is unique which is why we will only recommend the use of sealants if we truly believed it to be a beneficial procedure for your dental health. Although not a permanent solution, sealants are a great way to help prevent tooth decay. Most sealants help protect the tooth from approximately 80% of cavities for up to two years and continue to protect against 50% of cavities for up to four years. No matter how well we may take care of your teeth, anyone can experience tooth decay at any time. Fluoride is a great way to protect all of the surfaces of your teeth and help prevent decay, but if you are looking for an extra layer of added protection, dental sealants help with the grooved and pitted areas by providing a smooth covering over the fissures. Of course, our staff will always recommend sealants but especially if your teeth are prone to cavities. Once you receive your sealants, we will be sure to check them during your routine dental exams. If the condition of your sealants appear to be compromised in any way, our dental staff may recommend replacements.
For children, the molars in the primary dentition (baby teeth) also have grooves that could benefit from sealants. However, dental sealants only cover the chewing surface of the tooth so the use of fluoride to help protect the rest of the tooth from decay is definitely recommended.