How Long Are Dental Sealants Supposed To Last?
Oral hygiene requires that a person should brush and floss regularly. That helps remove food particles and plaques from the back and other hidden parts of the mouth. While these methods are very effective, they have their limitations.
Brushing and flossing can only protect the teeth to a certain extent. That is why dentists employ dental sealants to cover the vulnerable areas, safeguard the teeth and prevent dental issues like tooth decay.
A dental sealant is a thin plastic coating usually applied on the surface of the teeth that are for chewing. Dental sealants typically go on the back of the teeth – the molars and premolars. They prevent tooth decay by forming a shield over the enamel of the molars and premolars.
Molars are used mainly for children and teenagers because they are the ones who are most likely to have decay at the back of their teeth. For good oral hygiene, dentists in The Art of Smile Dental Clinic will advise parents to get sealants for their children as soon as the first set of teeth begins to sprout. That usually occurs between the ages of 6 to 14.
Here are a few interesting facts about dental sealants from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention;
- Children from wealthy families are 20% more likely to get dental sealants than children from less-than-average families.
- More than half of children between the age of 6 and 11 do not get dental sealants though they need them the most.
- These children between the ages of 6-11 who do not have sealants have a 300% chance of getting a cavity in their molar than those with the sealant.
- In most cases of children with cavities, there is an 80% possibility that dental sealants can help to protect children from cavities.
- Over seven million children in the United States need dental sealants.
Getting dental sealant for children is essential because of the role that the baby teeth play in forming permanent ones. In a few instances, adults can use dental sealants if they do not have any decay or filling at the back of their mouth.
Applying dental sealant is relatively easy and does not involve any pain. The dentist takes only a few minutes to apply the sealant by following the following processes;
- First, the teeth are cleaned to remove all plagues and food particles from the depression and grooves.
- Each tooth is dried. Then cotton or another material that absorbs moisture will keep it dry.
- The chewing surface of each tooth is roughened using an acid solution. That allows the sealant to bond well with the teeth.
- After applying the solution, the teeth are rinsed and dried again.
- Lastly, the sealant will be applied to the tooth enamel and left to bond with the teeth till it hardens. The dentist can hasten the hardening process by using a special light.
Sealants for adults also employ the same procedures. Sealants can protect the teeth for up to a decade, but the patient will need regular checkups at the dentist’s office.
Does Dental Insurance Cover Sealants for Adults?
If you have dental insurance, it is essential to ask your insurance provider if your plan covers the cost of sealants. Most insurance companies only have programs for children below the age of 18. Contact your insurance provider before visiting your dentist’s office for patients above that age, especially adults. You also need to see your dentist beforehand if you are an adult to be sure that you can receive sealants.
At What Age Are Dental Sealants Most Effective?
Dentists usually advise that children receive sealants as soon as they begin to grow teeth. However, the sealants are most effective when they are most prone to getting cavities. That is usually between the ages of 6 and14. Dental sealants help to preserve the baby teeth and keep them healthy.