Originally Published November 24, 2015
Unless you’re in the 4% of the population that hasn’t had a dental cavity by age 65, you’ve experienced the dreaded feeling when your dentist has told you “…there’s a cavity starting…”.
It’s not what you or I want to hear (yes, Dentists also get cavities) when we go in for our dental appointments.
The cause of a lot of cavities starts with the way our molars are shaped. Tiny pits and grooves on the surface of the chewing surface are difficult to clean with brushing alone. Toothbrush bristles cannot reach all the way into the depressions and grooves to extract food and plaque.
Fortunately, there’s a painless solution that lasts for years.
Dental sealants are a dental treatment that give teeth extra protection against decay and help prevent cavities.
Sealants are easy to apply and painless.
Applied by a dentist, the sealant is painted into the grooves of the tooth with a small brush where it bonds directly to the enamel of the tooth and hardens. This plastic resin bonds into the depressions and grooves of the chewing surfaces of back teeth. The sealant is a barrier, protecting enamel from plaque and acids. As long as the sealant remains intact, the tooth surface will be protected from decay starting on the chewing surfaces. Sealants hold up well under the force of normal chewing and will last many years before a reapplication is needed.
The likelihood of developing tooth decay begins early in life, so children and teenagers are obvious candidates. But adults can benefit from sealants as well. The main teeth that require sealants are the back molars that erupt at age 6 and 12. By the time these teeth are fully grown into the mouth, usually by ages 7 and 13, they are ready to seal.
Sealants are a proactive method of beating tooth decay and finishing up a dental appointment with your dentist telling you “…that’s great, no cavities…”.
It gives you another reason to smile and a goal to join the lucky 4% of the adult population who have never had a cavity.
P.S. Are sealants right for you? Or do you have questions about sealants? Be sure to ask on your next dental appointment.
P.P.S Interested in seeing how dental sealants are applied? There’s a short one-minute animated video on our website showing the procedure.