Although I’m quite sure that sealants were around when I was a child, I know that my parents were not fully advised of it’s benefits. This preventative treatment was fairly new in the 70’s and dentists were more focused on tooth restoration, and not as much on tooth decay prevention.
What are Dental Sealants?
Sealants have gotten a lot of buzz lately, because they work! In addition to fluorides, rinses and new products developed to prevent cavities, sealants seal the crevasses and grooves on teeth where it is difficult for your toothbrush to go.
The Sealant Procedure.
The sealant procedure requires no anesthesia, and is not only done by dentists, but also may be placed by hygienists or certified dental assistants. The procedure is painless and quick. The tooth is isolated, then its surface is dried. An etchant solution (acidic gel) is applied for a few seconds, and then rinsed. Once the tooth is re dried, a thin liquid plastic material (sealant) is applied and then cured with an ultra violent light. The light causes the sealant to harden.
Why are Sealants Needed?
Sealants are a quick and painless way to prevent cavities and are usually applied on the molars of permanent teeth. They are usually paid for by most insurance companies. Even if sealants are not covered by your insurance plan, they are highly recommended. Children usually get their first permanent molars at the age of 5 or 6. The second permanent molars usually erupt between the ages of 11 and 14. We recommend sealing the occlusal (top) surface of teeth at these ages and any other deep grooves that may also be on the buccal/facial (side) of the tooth. If applied properly, sealants can last up to 10 years. It is best to avoid hard or sticky candy, as this may cause the sealant to chip or come out. Also, you will want to replace sealants immediately if they become damaged.
Remember that sealing teeth before they decay can save money in the long run, and avoid an unpleasant experience to the dentist that could result in fillings or crowns. If you need a local Austin kids dentist, schedule a consultation with one of our experienced dentists at one of our 7 Austin locations by call us at (512) 452-8200 or scheduling online.