What Are Dental Sealants and Who Needs Them? Understanding the Basics

Ensuring the longevity of your pearly whites is not simply about brushing and flossing—every corner and crevice of your teeth can become a battleground against decay. That’s why, at Smiles on Jefferson in La Porte, IN, we’re avid on deploying an additional line of defense for our patients: dental sealants. If you’re curious about giving your smile a boost of defense, dental sealants are an excellent solution! 

However, several questions surround dental sealants. Today, we will go over the most frequently asked questions and give you the answers you have been looking for. 

The Lowdown on Dental Sealants

Before we tackle the frequently asked questions about dental sealants, it’s crucial to understand what they are. Sealants are a thin, protective coating applied to the chewing surfaces of back teeth. Their primary function is to protect these vulnerable areas by covering the pits and fissures where food and plaque often accumulate. 

The Science Behind Sealants: They work by blocking food and bacteria, which is especially helpful for those who need to clean their back teeth more diligently. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, sealants can reduce the risk of cavities by up to 80% in molars.

FAQs About Dental Sealants

1. How are Sealants Applied?

Applying sealants is a straightforward procedure that will only keep you in the dentist’s chair for a short time. First, Dr. Bunmi Adekugbe will thoroughly clean the teeth; then, we will apply an acidic solution to roughen the surface and help the sealant bond to the tooth. After briefly rinsing and drying, we will apply the sealant material onto the tooth enamel, which hardens. Some sealants even harden with the use of a special light.

2. Do Sealants Change the Feel of the Teeth?

Dental sealants are usually undetectable once they’ve been set. The tooth’s chewing surface may feel slightly different, but you’ll adapt to that in no time. It’s worth noting that the presence of a sealant does not mean you should slack on oral hygiene—it’s just an extra guard in your oral health routine.

3. How Long Do Sealants Last?

Ideally, sealants can last up to 10 years with proper oral hygiene, regular dental check-ups, and good home care. They are checked by a dental professional during your visits and can be reapplied if necessary.

4. Are Dental Sealants Suitable for All Ages?

The good news is that sealants can benefit individuals regardless of age. Children often receive sealants on their permanent molars when they come in, typically around age six. Additional molars develop around age 12 and are promptly sealed as well. Adults, especially those at high risk for cavities, may also find value in getting sealants, particularly if their teeth have deep grooves or depressions.

  • Children and Sealants: Childhood is a critical time for dental sealants. The first and second sets of molars (which erupt around age 6 and 12, respectively) serve as a solid foundation for preventive dental care. Protecting these new teeth allows them to develop without the threat of decay, leading to a healthier oral landscape into adulthood.
  • Adults and Sealants: The fallacy that cavity risk diminishes in adults couldn’t be further from the truth. As tooth enamel wears away with age, the risk increases. Sealants could be a wise choice for adults with a history of tooth decay or who want to add an extra layer of protection.

5. How to Maintain Dental Sealants

After applying sealants, it’s essential to maintain good oral hygiene to ensure longevity and effectiveness. This includes regular brushing with fluoride toothpaste, flossing daily, consuming a tooth-friendly diet low in sugary and starchy foods, and attending your scheduled dental check-ups.

Oral Hygiene with Sealants

Sealants act as a barrier, but they’re not invincible. Ensuring oral hygiene habits are on point is key to protecting your teeth, sealants or not. Here are a few tips to make the most out of your sealants:

  • Mind Your Diet and Snacking: Frequent snacking on sugary foods increases the likelihood of tooth decay, even with sealants. Opt for healthy snacks like fruits, vegetables, and cheese.
  • Stay Hydrated with Water: A dry mouth can amplify bacteria. Stay hydrated to maintain a healthy oral environment.
  • Keep Your Check-Ups: Take your dental appointments. Dr. Adekugbe will check the condition of your sealants and overall oral health, making any necessary recommendations for maintaining your sealants or teeth.

Protecting Your Smile With Dental Sealants in La Porte, IN

Dental sealants can elevate your oral defense strategy and contribute to a healthier, cavity-free smile. They’re a minimal intervention with substantial benefits, recommended by Dr. Bunmi Adekugbe as a powerful preventive measure. With the exceptional care from our dentist and his team, you can get the care necessary for your smile. From family dental care to restorative and cosmetic dental treatments, we are here to help you take care of your smile. 

If sealants sound like the solution you’ve been looking for or if you have further questions, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with our dental team today. Remember, your smile is an investment—protect it with the right tools and care with our excellent team at Smiles on Jefferson. 

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