What are dental Sealants, and are they necessary?
What Are Dental Sealants, And Are They Necessary?
A dental sealant is a coating that is used to fill in and cover the grooves on the chewing surfaces of back teeth. Their purpose is to form a physical barrier, not allowing sugar or harmful bacteria to touch the surface of the tooth, hopefully preventing a cavity from forming. Sometimes the groove of a tooth can be so deep and so narrow that even a toothbrush bristle cannot reach the bottom of it. That allows bacteria to hang out in a protected area, making it only a matter of time before a cavity develops. First molars usually come in around the age of six and second molars usually around the age of twelve and sealants are placed when the teeth have erupted enough to be able to access the grooves.
I have gone back and forth over the last 20 years on the usefulness of sealants. They can be very difficult and unpredictable to place on kids with small mouths and a case of the squirmies :). It is confusing to figure out who is covered up to what age and how often as all the insurance plans are different. They are necessarily a thin layer on the chewing surfaces of teeth and can be prone to popping off or wearing away. Even with those challenges though I am a firm believer that sealants are a good and proper treatment.
At Comprehensive and Cosmetic Dental Studio of Greenville we guarantee the sealants we place for as long as that person is in our practice. This is not a guarantee that any tooth with a sealant will never get a cavity, but we take extra steps to ensure that the sealants we place will last and at future cleanings, if we notice a sealant needs touching up or replacing we will do that at no charge. That is the level of trust we have in the quality of our work and in the importance of prevention. Comprehensive and Cosmetic Dental Studio of Greenville is a family practice focused on prevention and education. The less dental work needed, the better. Anything we can do to prevent disease, we will do vigorously. Studies show that there are windows of time when people tend to be more prone to developing cavities and one of those times is through the teenage years into the early twenties. 80% of people have a cavity by the age of twenty and 90% of those cavities are in the grooves of back teeth; just what sealants are designed to protect. The wear rate of sealant material has also improved over the years, helping them stand up to the forces of chewing better and better.
We are going to be focused on keeping sealants in place up through the late teenage years because of our strong belief in taking all steps to prevent dental disease from occurring. We will certainly do whatever work needs to be done and being Comprehensive is how we ensure that work is done to the highest possible standards, however Comprehensive also means a dedication to prevention. Comprehensive and Cosmetic Dental Studio of Greenville is dedicated to reaching and/or maintaining stability for our patients and sealants are one tool in our toolbox that can help us out.