Proper dental care can affect your overall health. Brushing and flossing can help with overall cleanliness in your mouth, but brushes only reach certain portions of your teeth. Your dentist might recommend sealants to help keep your overall oral health on track. What are sealants, and why do you need them?
What Are Sealants?
A dental sealant is a thin coating that your dentist paints on the surfaces of your molars and premolars in an attempt to prevent tooth decay. The sealants form a protective cover that shields your teeth from germs and food. Sealants effectively protect against 80% of cavities for up to two years. They continue protecting against approximately 50% of cavities for up to four years.
Sealants do not take the place of brushing and flossing for your overall oral health. They do help to provide an extra layer of protection to your teeth. However, cavities can develop even in sealed teeth. Discuss with your dentist how you can best maintain your sealed teeth.
Why Do You Need Sealants?
Sealants get into the depressions of the teeth to protect portions of the surface that toothbrushes can’t always reach. Specifically, sealants protect the back teeth. They help keep particles of food out of the indentations that the bristles of a toothbrush simply can’t clean because a toothbrush is designed to clean the smooth surfaces of the teeth.
Who Needs Sealants?
Cavities are likely to form in the indentations and grooves of molars and premolars. For this reason, it’s recommended that children and teenagers get sealants as soon as their permanent molars and premolars come in, starting around age 6. Adults who have no cavities or fillings are also good candidates for sealants.
Some dental insurance policies will pay for sealants if your dentist recommends them. However, many times insurance will only cover them for children. Consult with the professionals in your dentist’s office or your insurance company to determine whether your insurance will cover the cost of sealants.
Consult Your Dentist
If you still have questions about dental sealants or if you or a member of your family need them, speak to your dentist. Your dentist can give you more information about sealants. Dr. Foutz can assess your situation and discuss whether you need to consider sealants.