How Effective Are Dental Sealants In Preventing Cavities?
There is only so much oral hygiene can do to prevent dental conditions like tooth decay. In children, it is even worse. For one, they love to take sugar. Sugary food intake increases the risk of tooth decay. They also have poor oral hygiene. Parents have to ensure that their oral hygiene is well seen. Even then, dental sealants offer added protection at levels that cannot be achieved with oral hygiene.
Dental sealants are thin layers of plastic applied over the teeth, usually the back molars where the risk of tooth decay is highest. Initially, they are applied as a liquid. This step in the dental sealant procedure allows the plastic to fit into the nooks and crannies of the teeth. The plastic will eventually harden to form a barrier that protects the teeth from direct contact with harmful bacteria. As you would expect, plastic material is not toxic to human health in any way. There is also the added advantage of the sealants blending in so well that they are hardly noticeable.
Who Can Wear A Dental Sealant?
A dental sealant is most appropriate for children aged 6-14. The affinity for sugar and poor oral hygiene in the age group makes this so. Children younger than age 6 may be too young to follow instructions during a dental sealant procedure. It involves opening their mouth wide and staying still for some time. Hence, only those with an established higher risk for dental caries have to undergo this painless procedure.
Now, this is not to say an adult cannot get a dental sealant. A dentist in Stone Oak, TX will fix a sealant for you if you want one. Aging comes with changes in saliva composition due to medication use over time. This predisposes many adults to teeth decay. However, dental restoration removes the possibility of getting a sealant on the tooth.
How Long Do They Last?
If well fitted initially, they can last as long as a lifetime. However, chances are that most people have to replace them. Averagely, they last between 5-10 years. They need proper maintenance to last longer. Harder toothbrushes can affect the ability of sealants to last. Brushing hard with a soft toothbrush may even have the same effect. Hence, brush softly with soft toothbrushes. Avoid acidic foods and beverages. These include soda and fruit juice as they can affect sealant durability.
How Effective Are Dental Sealants?
The CDC says that dental sealants prevent 80% of cavities over the first two years of application. This may drop to 50% by four years. At EvodentEvident Dental PLLC, Stone Oak, dental sealants will be monitored during routine visits to ensure they are still viable. Beyond serving as a form of barrier between teeth and bacteria, sealants also help teeth to stay intact. The protection with a sealant reduces the need for restoration. With the drilling, filling, and extraction involved in dental restoration, the natural structure of a tooth is tampered with.
This is not to say a sealant does not come with any disadvantage at all. However, you can rest assured that these do not match up to the benefits in any way. When they fall out, they need to be reapplied. They can also chip and wear out. After you get one, your bite can feel strange. This is due to the extra layer on your teeth. In time, things should return to normal when you get used to the feeling.
Some concern has been raised over the exposure to synthetic estrogens like bisphenol A (BPA). Research has shown that the levels of BPA in saliva peak within 3 hours after exposure and return to normal in a day. Moreover, there are no reports of adverse effects connected to this. You should also note that materials used to treat tooth decay contain more chemicals than BPA. Avoiding sealants because of BPA might just mean exposure to more chemicals later when treating tooth decay.
To cap it all, dental sealants are relatively affordable for most. Dental insurance can cut significant amounts off cost too. Consider a dental sealant for protection against tooth decay in your children today.