Understanding Dental Sealants: Pros, Cons, and Durability
Dental experts recommend applying dental sealants on the molars and premolars as soon as they erupt. These back teeth usually contain tiny pits and grooves that aid in chewing and grinding food. Unfortunately, these areas can trap food debris and bacteria and are relatively difficult to brush effectively, making them more susceptible to decay.
Dental sealants are an excellent and cost-effective way to protect your teeth against decay and damage. Sealants are applied to the chewing surfaces of the molars and premolars, creating a protective barrier against bacteria and food debris that cause tooth decay and gum disease. Keep reading to learn more about dental sealants, including their pros, cons, and durability.
Advantages of Dental Sealants
Below are key dental sealant benefits:
- Protection against tooth decay and cavities: Dental sealants seal or covers the tiny pits and grooves that trap food debris and bacteria, significantly lowering your risk of cavities and decay.
- Improved oral hygiene: The tiny pits and grooves at the chewing surfaces of the back teeth can be difficult to clean thoroughly, leading to decay and cavities. Applying sealants smoothen these surfaces, making cleaning easier and faster. It further lowers your risk of cavities and other oral problems.
- Cost-effective: Sealants are cheaper than most dental treatments, like root canals and fillings. The fact that they protect your teeth against cavities prevents the need for future restorative treatments, saving you money in the long run.
- Non-invasive and painless: Applying dental sealants doesn’t require tooth shaving or any drilling. The dentist only roughens the tooth’s surface with an acidic solution for easy bonding. The procedure is painless, and you won’t need anesthesia or sedation. It makes sealants an excellent preventive option for children and patients with dental anxiety.
- Quick application and recovery: Dental sealants are applied in a single appointment and only take 30 minutes. Since they’re non-invasive, you can resume your normal activities right away.
- Easy to maintain and repair: Dental sealants don’t require special care once applied to teeth. Just stick to your regular dental hygiene routine. If your sealants get damaged or worn out, your dentist can easily replace them to ensure maximum protection against decay and cavities.
- Aesthetic appeal: Dental sealant material is clear, white, or tooth-colored, making them virtually invisible.
Disadvantages of Dental Sealants
Common dental sealant drawbacks include:
- Allergic reaction: While generally safe, people with extreme sensitivity to certain dental restoration materials can experience allergic reactions to dental sealants.
- Ineffective for existing decay or cavities: The ADA recommends against using dental sealants on teeth with existing decay or cavities, as this would only result in more damage under the sealant.
- Limited protection: Dental sealants are only applied on the biting surfaces of the back teeth. However, you can also develop decay or cavities on the sides or between these or other teeth.
- Not permanent: While durable, dental sealants don’t last forever. Sealants can get damaged or wear down over time, lowering their effectiveness against decay and cavities.
How Long Do Dental Sealants Last?
Dental sealants are relatively strong and durable. Proper dental care and habits can protect your teeth against decay and cavities for 5 – 10 years. Below are several tips for caring for your dental sealants to ensure maximum dental sealant durability:
- Brush and floss regularly. You should use dental sealants with good oral hygiene and never as a substitute for daily brushing and flossing.
- Schedule routine dental appointments. It allows your dentist to clean your mouth and check your teeth and sealants for damage. If your dentist identifies any issues, they will address them to prevent further complications.
- Avoid abrasive dental products. Abrasive dental products can reduce dental sealant effectiveness by scratching or wearing them down. Consider using a soft-bristled brush and fluoride toothpaste.
- Avoid hard, sticky, and crunchy items. Chewing very hard, crunchy, or sticky items can cause your sealants to chip or fall off, exposing your teeth to cavity-causing bacteria and plaque.
Are you interested in Dental Sealants in Glastonbury, CT?
Dental sealants are an excellent preventive measure against tooth decay and cavities. Contact Steven F. Hinchey to determine whether dental sealants suit you and your family.