From a young age, we are taught that brushing and flossing are essential to the prevention of cavities and tooth decay. But sometimes these measures are not enough, especially when it comes to those hard-to-reach areas in the back of the mouth. To protect your or your child’s teeth from decay, Dr. Robert Milner may recommend dental sealants. Dental sealants are a simple and effective way to prevent tooth decay, as they keep plaque and food from adhering to the chewing surfaces of the molars and premolars. Dental sealants are often used on children and teens, but adults can also benefit from sealants.
Dental sealants are a thin plastic coating that is applied to the grooves on the surface of the teeth. They are typically applied on the back teeth, where decay occurs most often. The sealants keep germs, acids and food particles from getting stuck in the grooves, thus preventing cavities and decay.
Who Benefits from Dental Sealants?
The risk of developing tooth decay begins at a very young age, which is why dental sealants are typically used on children and teenagers. However, adults without decay or fillings can also benefit from sealants.
Dental Sealant Procedure
Sealants can be applied in one quick and painless visit to our Mission Viejo dental office. Before applying the sealants, we will thoroughly clean the tooth. We will then apply a special gel to the surface of the tooth, which will help the sealant bond to the tooth surface. The sealant will then be painted onto the tooth, where it bonds directly with the tooth and hardens. Once the sealant dries (which typically only takes a few minutes), your tooth is ready for use.
The Benefits of Dental Sealants
The goal of dental sealants is to prevent tooth decay before damage even starts. By doing so, dental sealants may help you avoid more serious (and costly) dental procedures in the future. Additionally, dental sealants protect the teeth without compromising the appearance of your smile. Dental sealants consist of a clear substance, which seamlessly blends in with the color of your natural teeth.
With proper oral hygiene and regular dental checkups, dental sealants can last for many years. However, sealants can weaken over time due to the natural wear and tear of teeth. During your routine checkups, we will examine the condition of your sealants and reapply them when necessary.
Frequently Asked Questions about Dental Sealants
How do dental sealants prevent cavities?
Dental sealants are thin coatings painted onto the chewing surfaces of the back teeth. Sealants physically block out bacteria from hiding within the small crevices of the teeth and causing cavities.
Why are sealants only applied to the back teeth?
Sealants are only applied to the molars, or the large teeth in the back of the mouth, because they are the most vulnerable to tooth decay and cavities. The back teeth have deep grooves where food particles and bacteria can easily become trapped and cause oral health problems.
Will a sealant make the teeth feel any different?
Probably not. Sealants are very thin. Sometimes they can be felt for a day or so when they are first placed.
Can you see a sealant?
No. Sealants are usually clear and cannot be seen when you speak or smile.
How long do sealants last?
Sealants have been known to last 5 to 10 years. If you have a sealant, it is important to have it checked by a dentist regularly to make sure it does not fall off or wear away.
Can I get sealants if I’m an adult?
Although sealants are usually used on children, you may benefit from them if you are prone to tooth decay. Talk to Dr. Milner about whether sealants would be suitable for you.
Do you still need to brush and floss if you have sealants?
Yes, brushing and flossing are very important for removing germs and plaque from the mouth. You should brush at least twice a day and floss once a day to get rid of food debris and bacteria.
Quality Dental Care with Dr. Milner
At the dental practice of Dr. Milner, we take your and your children’s oral health seriously. We are proud to offer quality dental care services to help prevent dental health issues such as cavities and decay from forming. To learn more about dental sealants or the other general dentistry treatments we offer, schedule an appointment today. Please call our Mission Viejo office at 949-859-8899.