Sealants and Dental Health

When we were kids, we went to the dentist, and if we needed fillings, nobody was surprised. But an innovative dental sealant now makes it possible to save kids from tooth decay. That doesn’t just mean fewer fillings when they are young, it also means stronger teeth and better dental health throughout their lives.

Dental sealants are used to protect the teeth, particularly the pre-molars and molars, from tooth decay. Dental sealant is a very thin plastic coating that is applied to the individual tooth, thereby sealing the tooth and preventing tooth decay.

Although brushing and flossing of the teeth go a long way towards preventing tooth decay, the nooks and crannies of the pre-molars and molars are extremely difficult to clean properly. The dental sealant coats the surface of the tooth to prevent the food and plaque from lodging in these nooks and crannies causing cavities.

Who needs Dental Sealant?

Dental Sealants for Kids

Dental sealants are particularly beneficial for children and teenagers, but adults who don’t have tooth decay and/or fillings can also benefit from the application of a dental sealant. It is advisable to apply the sealant on the pre-molars and molars of children as soon as the tooth appears to prevent tooth decay.

The first molars appear, on average, at around 6 years old and the second set at around 12 years of age. Research has shown that children who get dental sealants have far less tooth decay than those that don’t. In fact, volunteer dentists and the makers of the sealant have started a charity program in the US, helping underprivileged kids to get this form of tooth decay prevention.

What is the Procedure for Applying Dental Sealant?

  • After making sure that there is no decay, the tooth is cleaned thoroughly.
  • The tooth is dried and a mild acid solution is applied to the tooth to slightly roughen the surface. This gives a better surface for the sealant to bond to.
  • The tooth is then rinsed and dried again.
  • The sealant is then painted onto the tooth and a special light is shone onto the sealant to assist in the hardening process.
  • The sealant will last for 5 to 10 years.

Dental Sealants and BPA

There has recently been concern about the possible presence of bisphenol A (BPA) in dental materials, and therefore exposure of young children to BPA. Research by the American Dental Association, which has been confirmed by the manufacturers of dental material, has shown that BPA is not used as an ingredient in the manufacture of dental sealants. The CDC and the ADA further confirm that dental sealants are perfectly safe and won’t harm human health. Thus, there are no real health risks, and many health benefits to be gained.

80% less tooth decay for kids

Research conducted by the Centre for Disease Control and the American Dental Association shows that the application of dental sealants to the teeth of vulnerable children and teenagers reduces the risk of tooth decay by 80% over a 2-year period after application.

Dental sealant costs, on average, a third of the cost of a filling. So, the application of dental sealants could potentially save thousands of dollars in dental care costs.  With no drawbacks and plenty of benefits, dental sealants represent a great, low-cost way of preventing tooth decay. If you’d like to find out more, contact our surgery today.

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