Dental sealants are the unsung heroes of cavity prevention: You may have heard of sealants, but there’s a good chance you don’t know exactly how they work or what benefits they offer.
Brushed onto the surfaces of your back teeth, dental sealants fill in cracks and crevices that provide prime entry points for decay-causing bacteria. At A to Z Dental Studio, Hiba Zakhour, DDS, offers dental sealants for patients of all ages. Here are four ways they could benefit you or your child.
The main reason to get dental sealants is to protect your “chewing teeth” from cavities, so it shouldn’t be too much of a surprise that they do just that. What a lot of people are surprised by is how effective they are at keeping decay at bay.
According to the CDC, dental sealants prevent 80% of cavities for the first two years after application and 50% of cavities for the following two years, for a grand total of four years of cavity protection and prevention.
Typically, dental sealants are applied to children’s teeth during the “cavity-prone” ages of 6-12 years. Sealants help prevent cavities during this time, and they also set the stage for a lifetime of better oral health. They can even be applied to baby teeth in a child who’s especially prone to cavities.
But sealants can also be a good choice for adults. To be effective, they can only be applied to healthy teeth with no fillings or other restorations to fill in deep grooves or depressions. Regardless of the patient’s age, Dr. Zakhour evaluates teeth carefully to determine if sealants are an appropriate choice.
Wear-and-tear on your teeth can lead to the development of tiny cracks called fissures. These cracks are so small, you probably won’t even notice them. But they do weaken the tooth structure.
Every time you chew on that tooth, those tiny cracks can become deeper or wider, increasing your risk of tooth breakage. If your tooth is protected by a sealant, tiny fissures are “filled in” and future fissures are prevented.
OK, that’s really two benefits, but they’re both related to the treatment itself. After cleaning the tooth surface and thoroughly drying the tooth, Dr. Zakhour applies a special solution to the tooth enamel to help the sealant bond better.
Next, Dr. Zakhour applies the sealant using a special brush. Some sealants require a special light to cure and harden them; others do not. Once applied, sealants don’t require any special care — just regular brushing, flossing, and routine dental visits will keep your teeth (and your sealants) in good shape.
Sealants can play an important role in preventive care for both kids and adults. To learn more about sealants at A to Z Dental Studio and whether they’re a good choice for you or your child, call 571-290-7035 or book an appointment at our Fairfax, Virginia, practice today.