How Sealants Protect your Teeth from Holiday Sweets

Most people think that sealants are just for kids.  The truth is that sealants benefit anyone with a risk for cavities.  As you approach the holiday season that we usually pack full of sweet treats, you should consider sealants as an option to protect your teeth.

What is a Sealant?

A sealant is a preventive dental treatment that coats and seals the deep grooves and pits in teeth.  Dental sealants bond to enamel and keep cavity-causing bacteria out.  We can place sealants on any cavity-prone area.  They are great for both baby teeth and permanent teeth.

The process to apply sealants to your teeth is completely painless and simple.  Because it is a coating on the outer surface of the teeth, no drilling or tooth preparation is necessary.  We clean and “etch” the tooth so that the sealant material will adhere to the enamel.  The entire process takes about thirty seconds per tooth.  The materials we use do have a bad taste, so we will work to protect your tongue and keep you from tasting it.

How Does a Sealant Lower the Risk for Cavities?

Sealants work to protect the teeth in two important ways.  Cavities that start in deep grooves or pits in the teeth begin with plaque collection in those grooves/pits.  Some people have grooves or pits that are deeper and narrower than a toothbrush bristle can reach!

  1. A dental sealant forms a barrier between dental plaque and the tooth’s surface. Even if plaque does collect on the biting surface of a back tooth, the sealant separates it from the enamel, thus protecting the enamel from any harmful effects of those bacteria.
  2. The sealant fills in the deep grooves or pits, creating a smoother, shallower surface that is less likely to collect plaque. Sealants remove the tiny hiding spots for plaque buildup and replace them with flat, glossy surfaces.  This shallower surface also makes it easier for you to clean away plaque buildup or food debris.

Why Should I Get Sealants as an Adult?

One of the reasons people think sealants are for children only is because dental insurance companies typically only provide sealant benefits for children.  Unfortunately, this gives many the misconception that adults don’t need or wouldn’t benefit from sealants.  The truth is that sealants will prevent cavities on adult teeth just as well as they do for children.

Many of our adult patients drink coffee or tea, which leads to some dark staining in the grooves or pits of the teeth.  This staining is a red flag!  We know that any groove deep enough to collect stain is also collecting bacteria-filled plaque.  With dental sealants, you can prevent both stain and plaque from accumulating in your teeth.

Another reason to consider sealants for adult teeth is the cost-benefit analysis.  The cost of a sealant is usually about one-fourth the cost of a filling required to repair a cavity.  The financial saving in preventing a cavity is substantial.

Don’t forget about the benefit of not needing dental work.  We know many people suffer from dental anxiety or phobias.  Preventing cavities has more than just a financial advantage.  It can keep you out of the dental chair!

More Questions about Dental Sealants?

Call 940-382-1750 today to schedule a visit with Dr. Chowning or one of our dental hygienists for sealants of your own.  Then enjoy your Thanksgiving and Christmas treats!

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