What Are Dental Sealants and Are They Necessary?

Jun 02, 2021

Children are prone to decay and cavities more than adults because of poor brushing techniques and a love of sugary treats. It is said that one in every two children develop cavities at least once in their childhood.

While teaching your children the proper brushing techniques is recommended, you may need other preventive measures to protect them against cavities. One of the most used preventive treatments is dental sealants.

Most dental professionals recommend sealants for children because they are effective in preventing cavities. But, before you get dental sealants near you, it is important to know what they are and how they protect the teeth against cavities.

What are Sealants?

Dental sealants are coatings, made of plastic, applied to the teeth to shield them from cavities. These coatings are applied on permanent teeth, mostly the back teeth because they tend to trap food particles.

Although the coatings can be applied at any time, they are recommended after the last molar has come out (normally at age 12).

Are They Effective?

The Center for Disease Control reports that dental sealants can prevent at least 80 percent of cavities in the first year and about 50 percent by the fourth year. It is also reported that children who don’t have dental sealants are twice more likely to develop cavities.

Can Adults Get Sealants?

Yes, adults can get dental sealant near Houston, TX, if they have healthy teeth free of decay or dental fillings. Dental fillings are used on already decayed teeth and can hinder the effectiveness of the sealants.

How Are They Applied?

Dental sealants in Houston TX, are applied in one visit and the process lasts for about 30 minutes. Our dentist will begin the procedure by assessing and cleaning the teeth, then the following steps are done:

  • The teeth to be sealed are dried with cotton and separated with a sheet to keep them dry.
  • An acid solution is applied on the chewing surface to roughen them and make it easy for the sealant to stick to the teeth. The teeth are then rinsed and dried.
  • The plastic coating is painted onto the teeth where it bonds to the teeth. A special light is used at times to harden the sealants.

What About the BPA Levels?

There have been concerns about the BPA levels in the sealants. Bisphenol A is a compound believed to affect the nervous, thyroid, and immune systems. However, the American Dental Association and CDC report that the levels of BPA are negligible and do not cause any harm.

There are other forms of sealants like the glass ionomer that release fluoride. However, they are not as effective as plastic coatings. You can consult a dentist near Houston about the available options.

Are The Sealants Permanent?

Dental sealants last for about a decade, but they are subjected to chewing and constant pressure that can affect their effectiveness. It is important to get constant dental checkups to assess the condition of the sealants. Any crack on these coatings can trap food particles and increase the risk of decay.

What Are Other Preventive Measures?

While dental sealants are efficient in preventing decay, their effectiveness decreases with age. This means that the chances of developing cavities increase every year. That is why it is important to use other preventive measures to maintain your child’s dental health.

  • Regular exams and cleaning. Visiting your pediatric dentist every six months of checkup and cleaning can help prevent decay and gum disease.
  • Fluoride treatments. These are recommended for children above six years. The dentist will apply a fluoride varnish on the teeth to strengthen them and make them less prone to cavities.
  • Nutrition. Eating teeth-friendly foods like milk and yogurt (rich in calcium) will also strengthen the teeth. Ask the dentist about the various foods that can strengthen the teeth and prevent gum disease.
  • Proper brushing techniques. The dentist will teach your child the right way to brush to remove plaques and keep the teeth clean.

Schedule an Appointment

If you are looking for dental sealants near Houston, TX, visit Cabrera Dental Associates for information.