Run your tongue over the back of your mouth. It’s a canyon of crevices, ridges, and grooves — tiny deep pits and fissures that can trap food and cavity-causing bacteria. These pockets are difficult to reach with a toothbrush. And that makes them fertile cavity canyons where tooth decay can run rampant.
Those back areas of the teeth can be especially problematic for children because their enamel isn’t as resistant to bacteria. Fluoride can help strengthen teeth, but it’s difficult to get fluoride into those pits and fissures on a regular basis. And brushing those areas is nearly impossible, especially for kids who are only just learning to brush. You’re lucky if they scrub the front surfaces, much less the hard-to-reach spots.
That’s why we offer dental sealants at our dental office in Middleburg Heights. They provide an extra layer of protection for your back teeth against cavities.
What Are Dental Sealants?
Dental sealants are invisible plastic coatings of resin designed to smooth out the chewing surfaces of the back teeth. This makes them more resistant to decay and better protected against cavities.
How Are Dental Sealants Placed?
Dental sealants can not only protect your teeth from painful cavities, but the process to place the sealants is completely painless. At our dental office in Middleburg Heights, Dr. Postel can place them in just a few minutes.
A dental sealant works like a mini-plastic filling. We first examine the teeth that are to be sealed for any signs of decay. If you do have decay or cavities, we address them right away. We’ll clean and dry the tooth. Next, we’ll use a solution that slightly roughens or etches the tooth surface to make it easier to adhere to the sealant.
Then we’ll rinse and dry the tooth again. Next, we’ll apply the sealant to the tooth in a liquid form — “painting” it on. Finally, the sealant is hardened with the help of a special curing light.
How to Care for Dental Sealants
Dental sealants will help protect your teeth against cavities, but that doesn’t mean you get a pass on brushing. You’ll still need to follow the same conscientious dental hygiene as unsealed teeth. That means brushing your teeth two times a day for two minutes each and flossing daily. Don’t forget to use mouthwash. And yes, you still need to see your dentist for regular checkups. The good news is they should reduce decay by about 80%.
How Long Do Dental Sealants Last?
Dental sealants should last between 5 to 10 years with proper oral hygiene. When you come in for dental checkups and cleanings, we’ll also check them for chips and wear and tear. If needed, the sealants can be easily replaced.
Can Adults Have Dental Sealants?
Dental sealants are typically given to children because they tend to have weaker enamel and are more likely to develop tooth decay. But there’s no reason why adults would not benefit from them too. Any additional protection can help prevent cavities and safeguard your health. At our dentist office in Middleburg Heights, we advocate for preventative dentistry. Anything we can do to prevent cavities and protect your dental health is well worth the effort.
Are Dental Insurance Covered by Your Dental Insurance?
The one reason dental sealants are not often given to adults is they are not covered by many insurance plans. Personally, we find this a bit silly because they help protect against cavities — which are more expensive in the long run. We’d be happy to talk to your dental insurance company to see if dental sealants are covered.
That being said, dental sealants are a more cost-effective approach to dental care. They protect your teeth. That’s why dentists love them. What you spend upfront you’ll save many times over in tooth repair costs, especially when you compare it to the cost of a root canal or a dental crown.