At Arkansas Family Dental, a key tenant of preventative dental care is the application of dental sealants which have important long-term benefits for dental health.
Along with routine dental care including cleanings and cavity repair, the importance of preventative dental care is finally gaining some much-needed notice. Patients of varying ages are now searching for methods to extend the health and function of their teeth, and dental sealants are just one of the many great options. Sealants continue to be key in preventative dental care and promise long-term benefits in the oral and dental health for both children and adults.
What Are Dental Sealants & How Do They Work?
Dental sealants are a thin plastic material that is applied to the back molars and premolars of the mouth, which are used for chewing and are most susceptible to tooth decay.
The molars and premolars are brushed with an application of the sealant substance which is initially in a liquid form. This is an important feature because the liquid resin is better able to reach the fine crevices and pores found on the surface of the teeth where daily brushing is unable to be effective.
This resin settles onto the areas of the teeth that are most susceptible to bacteria and decay, namely the pits and fissures. It bonds securely to the tooth surface and then hardens creating a tough, protective shell resistant to plaque and bacteria build up.
The thin film of resin does not interfere with the normal use or function of the teeth, but is merely an added layer of protection from plaque, acids, and bacteria. It is still important to stress the importance of continuing to brush and floss daily to protect the areas that sealants cannot cover.
How Often Do They Need To Be Applied?
Sealants are made from a highly durable material which can last up to several years. Once the initial seal has been completed, your dentist is able to assess the coating when a routine dental cleaning or other care is performed. In areas that are showing signs of wear, it is then a simple process to touch up the location to maintain the protective cover as an element of preventative dental care.
Who Can Benefit From Dental Sealants?
Children and teenagers are prime candidates for this type of preventative dental care due to the high incidence of cavities as teeth grow and develop. This is a naturally-occurring complication due to the sometimes lax oral hygiene habits and food choices of younger individuals. The seal will provide a barrier to buildup of the bacteria and plaque that can lead to cavities and offer an opportunity for children to learn firsthand about the importance of their dental care.
Additionally, adults can benefit just as much by the application of dental sealants due to the natural progression of age that causes tooth enamel to soften and leave teeth prone to cavities and decay. The use of sealants can prevent the need for other, harsher treatments and possibly save money for adult patients.
If you have concerns regarding your oral health, contact the Arkansas Family Dental office for more information about preventative dental care. We want you to be informed about all of your options in order to keep your happy and healthy smile for as long as possible.