Bloomington dentist explains how dental sealants prevent cavities
You have likely heard about the importance of diligent brushing and flossing and regular visits to the dentist in the fight against cavities. But did you know that dental sealants are another great way to help prevent cavities? At Eastland Dental Center in Bloomington, IL, we recommend that our young patients get sealants placed on their molars and pre-molars when they erupt to help stop dental decay before it even begins. Read on to learn more about sealants and how they protect your child’s teeth.
How sealants can help prevent cavities
Molars and pre-molars have many nooks and crannies, and some of them can be quite deep and difficult to reach even with great toothbrushing techniques. When food and sugary beverages leave remnants in these grooves of the teeth, it can lead to the development of plaque and become a breeding ground for disease-causing bacteria.
Dental sealants are made from a tooth colored material that is painted in a thin layer onto the chewing surfaces of the pre-molars and molars. Once there, the sealant does just what its name implies: it “seals out” food debris, plaque, and bacteria from the grooves on the chewing surface of the tooth, helping to prevent cavities from forming. Sealants are a great preventive care method for protecting your child’s teeth, and have many benefits:
- Sealants are safe and have no known side effects
- Allergies to the sealant material are rare
- They can even serve as a restorative measure for early-stage cavities, stopping the decay from spreading further into the tooth and preventing the need for a filling
- Sealants are long-lasting and can provide protection for many years
While sealants are commonly applied to younger children, teenagers and adults can also benefit from sealants, particularly if you have very deep pits and grooves in your teeth.
The sealant process
The process for applying sealants is quick and easy and can often be done during a routine cleaning and check-up appointment. First, we thoroughly clean the teeth that will be getting the sealants, then place an absorbent material such as cotton around the teeth to keep the area dry. Next, we apply a gel that slightly roughens the surface of the tooth, which helps the sealant material form a strong bond with the tooth surface. After letting it work for a few seconds on the tooth, we rinse it off and dry the tooth again, then paint the liquid sealant onto the tooth. Finally, the sealant is hardened with a special curing light.
Many insurance plans cover the cost of sealants because they are effective at preventing tooth decay. To learn more about dental sealants and whether they are right for you or your child, call Eastland Dental Center in Bloomington, IL today! Our office can be reached at (309) 663-4711.