When Dental
Excellence Matters

January 30, 2020

Seal out Tooth Decay for Children, Teens, and Adults

Brushing With A Fluoride Toothpaste And Flossing Daily Are The Most Effective Ways To Reduce The Risk Of Getting Cavities And Gum Disease.  However, Molars And Premolars (Bicuspids) Often Have Narrow, Deep Grooves On The Biting Surfaces That Toothbrush Bristles Are Too Wide To Reach.  These Deep Grooves Are Susceptible To Getting Cavities Even When Homecare Is Excellent. Dental Sealants Are A Highly Effective Method Of Protecting These Deep Grooves From Cavities For Children, Teens, And Adults.

Dental Sealants Are A Hardened Plasticized Material Placed On The Biting Surface Of Molars And Premolars Sealing The Narrow, Deep Grooves To Keep Decay-Causing Bacteria From Forming And/Or Progressing.  Placing Sealants Is An Easy And Painless Procedure.  The Dentist Or Dental Hygienist Will Clean The Teeth And Place The Sealants; Numbing Is Not Necessary.  The Sealant Is A Safe Dental Filling Material That Is Usually White Or Tooth Colored To Blend In With The Tooth.

Most People Think Dental Sealants Are Just For Children With Baby Teeth Because Historically Sealants Have Been Used Most Often On Children’s Baby Teeth.  Sealants Are Extremely Effective. Children With Sealants Are Three Times Less Likely To Get Cavities Than Children Without Sealants.  It Is Important To Protect Baby Teeth.  They Are Essential For Chewing, Developing The Jaws And Providing A Space For The Adult Teeth To Grow Into.  Early Loss Of Baby Teeth Can Adversely Affect Nutrition And The Growth And Development Of The Jaws, Leading To Malformation Of The Dental Jaws.  Because Most Children’s Homecare Is Not As Good As An Adult’s, Children Are More Susceptible To Getting Cavities.  Sealants Can Protect These Baby Teeth, But They Are Also Helpful For Teens And Adults.

Sealants Have Been Shown To Lower The Risk Of Cavities In Molars By 80%.  If Your Molars And Bicuspids Have Deep Grooves, Sealants Are A Great Preventive Measure Especially If You Occasionally Get A Cavity.  Teens Typically Snack, Do Not Spend Enough Time With Their Homecare And May Have Braces Making Them More Susceptible To Cavities.  For Those Who Have Had Cavities As An Adult, Who Have Less Than Excellent Homecare And/Or Who Have Dry Mouth, Sealants Are A Great Preventive Option.  Senior Citizens Are At Higher Risk Of Getting Cavities Due To A Natural Decrease In Saliva With Age, The Use Medications That Can Decrease Saliva, And Mental And Physical Changes That Can Make Homecare A Challenge.

Sealants Can Be Used On Healthy Teeth To Prevent Cavities And, Sometimes, Sealants Can Be Placed Over Small Cavities To Keep The Cavity From Progressing.  Sealants Placed Over A Small Cavity Will Isolate The Area And Keep The Cavity From Progressing.  The Dentist Will Then Monitor The Area Over Time To See If This Stops The Decay Process.  This Is A Much Easier And Less Costly Process Than Placing A Filling, Especially In A Young Child.

Sealants Can Last For Several Years But Will Need To Be Replaced Periodically.  Sealants May Be Covered By Dental Benefit Plans, But You Will Need To Check With The Plan Administrator.

Dr. Robert A. Gallegos Is A Fellow In The Academy Of General Dentistry, Visiting Faculty At Spear Education, Alumnus Of Pankey Institute, A Member The American Academy Of Cosmetic Dentistry, The American Academy Of Dental Sleep Medicine And The American Dental Association.  Dr. Gallegos Practices Dentistry In Middleburg, VA.  Www.MiddleburgSmiles.Com.

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