A dental sealant is a thin, protective coating placed on the chewing surface of permanent teeth. They are typically placed on molars, the back teeth we use to chew with, which are an ideal hiding place for leftover food and cavity-causing bacteria. The goal of a sealant is to keep bacteria from settling into areas of the tooth that a toothbrush can’t reach to prevent cavities from forming and tiny spots of early decay from progressing.
While not intended to be a substitute for brushing and flossing, sealants have been shown to reduce the risk of cavities by as much as 80 percent.
Both children and adults can benefit from sealants, but the earlier you get them the more effective they are. Sealants can be applied as early as 6 years when first molars start to appear, and when second molars start to come through around age 12.
Made from plastic or other dental materials, sealants can be applied quickly and painlessly by your dentist.
First the tooth is cleaned and dried, then an acidic gel is placed on the tooth to rough up the surface and allow a strong bond to form between tooth and sealant. The tooth is rinsed and dried and the sealant is applied onto the grooves of the tooth. Your dentist will then use a special blue light to harden the sealant.
Sealants last several years before they need to be reapplied. Check with your insurer to see if sealants are covered as part of your dental plan.
Some people are concerned about BPAs in sealants. But while there is a tiny amount of BPA in sealants, it is not enough to cause any concern. In fact, you get more exposure to BPA by simply touching a receipt, using cosmetics or coming in contact with dust.
If you are concerned about cavities for yourself or your children, Dr. Douglas Angell and the dental hygienists at Angell’s Dentistry will be happy to answer your questions about dental sealants. Angell’s Dentistry is committed to providing each of our patients with a beautiful, healthy smile and unmatched dental care. We invite you to visit our website at: www.angellsdentistry.com.