The Benefits of Dental Sealants
Dental sealants can provide many valuable benefits:
- They help prevent dental decay, which is still the most common chronic disease in children ages 6 to 11. The pits and fissures that naturally occur in the chewing surfaces of molars are excellent places for bacteria to accumulate and cause cavities. When this space is occupied by a sealant, it becomes much simpler to care for your back teeth.
- Unlike their alternative—dental fillings—sealants are completely non-invasive and reversible.
- They are painless and simple to place, requiring only a short visit to the dentist. After the teeth are cleaned, the coating material is gently applied to the chewing surfaces and cured with a special light.
- Sealants are far less expensive than fillings. Insurance will usually contribute to the cost or cover it entirely.
Dental sealants are just one of many important cavity prevention tools you should consider for your child and yourself.
The Limitations of Dental Sealants
In addition to the benefits of sealants, parents should be aware of what they cannot provide, and when they are not recommended:
- Sealants should not be used if a cavity has already formed. If this is the case, tooth decay must be removed and replaced with a filling.
- Sealants do not protect the side surfaces of teeth from decay. Fortunately, these areas are easier to clean than chewing surfaces. This limitation can be addressed by undergoing regular checkups and fluoride treatments at the dental office, using fluoridated toothpaste, and drinking water that is fluoridated.
- Dental sealants have a definite lifespan. They can last for up to 10 years but can come loose—either partially or completely—sooner. For this reason, they must be routinely checked during every dental exam and cleaning appointment, and replaced as needed. Fortunately, replacement of a lost sealant is a simple procedure.
The Final Verdict
While dental sealants can provide extra protection from dental decay, they are not a permanent or comprehensive solution. They are most effective when used in combination with a preventive dentistry plan overseen by a professional. This includes regular dental exams, fluoride applications, and daily at-home care. Dental sealants are just one of many important cavity prevention tools you should consider for your child and yourself.
Schedule a Consultation
Dr. Turner can help patients determine whether sealants are right for themselves or their child. If you are new to the greater Kansas City area, or if you need to establish regular dental care for yourself or your child, contact us today. To schedule a consultation, you can call us at (816) 229-1433 or send an electronic message.