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Dental Sealants: What Are They and Who Needs Them?

At one point or another in everyone’s lives, they’ve been told by their dentist or hygienist that regular teeth brushing and daily flossing is the best way to help prevent cavities. While we all have this stuck in our heads, sometimes even the best teeth-brushing routine can miss back molar areas of your mouth.

The molars, located in the very back of your mouth, often have a rough or uneven surface, which causes bacteria to linger. Oftentimes, food can get stuck back here too, leading to more cavities in this region of the mouth. For these difficult bacteria-prone areas, dental sealants can help prevent cavities and maintain a healthy, beautiful smile.

What are Dental Sealants?

Dental sealants are a thin coating of plastic that your dentist can place over the chewing surfaces of your teeth. These are usually done on the premolars and molars, located in the back of your mouth. This is because, as mentioned above, these teeth tend to gather the most cavity-causing bacteria. Sealant works by bonding to the grooves of the teeth, which forms a protective layer over the tooth.

Dental sealants are not a replacement for good brushing, flossing, and an oral hygiene routine. However, they can help protect areas of your mouth that are at risk for tooth decay and cavities. Dental sealants are an effective way to help stop cavities from forming in the first place, and can help prevent tooth decay over time. According to the CDC, dental sealants can help to prevent 80% of cavities in the back of your mouth, which is where 9 in 10 cavities occur.

Who should get Dental Sealants?

Dental sealants are widely used on people of all ages, including children, teenagers, and adults. The earlier dental sealants are put in place, the better due to their preventative nature. A developing child will begin to form molars around age 6, while their second molars come around age 12. Parents may opt to seal these teeth on their children as soon as they come in to prevent dental cavities as their child ages. In some instances, dental sealants are used on infants when a baby has deep grooves in their teeth. Adults are also good candidates for dental sealants to help prevent continual cavities or decay in their back molars.

How are Dental Sealants placed?

While dental sealants may sound like a complex process, it is actually a quick procedure that causes no pain. This is done right in the dental office without a need for any complex procedures.

Dental sealants are placed in a simple process, which includes drying off the tooth and placing a gel on your teeth. The gel is designed to help increase the roughness on the surface of the tooth and allow for a strong bond. Then, your dentist will rinse off this gel, dry the tooth, and place the sealant over the grooves of the teeth. A special blue light device is used to harden and dry the sealant. This process is simple and can help save your teeth from harmful bacteria and costly cavities in the future!

Learn More Today!

Interested in finding out if you’re a good candidate for dental sealants? Call the office of Dr. Stephen A. Coates today! The Long Beach Dentist office of Dr. Stephen Coates specializes in family and cosmetic dentistry, including dental sealants and other dental procedures.

Call us now at 562-434-6414 or use our online form to request an appointment.

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