Dental Sealants For Adults: What They Can And Can't Do For You

Parents are often advised to have dental sealants applied to their children's teeth to increase their protection from cavities. However, many adults never consider having the same treatment done to their own teeth. Sealants can be very beneficial for adults, but there are some things they just can't do. If you're trying to keep your teeth healthier, this guide will help you to understand how sealants can help, and what they can't help with.    

Protecting Your Molar Fissures

Your molars are prone to a lot of dental problems over the course of your life. They have a triple-whammy working against them:

  • They're In the Back - They're harder to reach with a toothbrush, and thus may not get as clean as your other teeth.
  • They're Responsible for Chewing - Soft foods may bypass your front teeth almost completely, but molars chew every food you eat, meaning they come in contact with more bacteria-producing substances.
  • They Have Deep Grooves - Molars are designed to gnash the food you eat, but the grooves easily get filled with small particulates of food, which are hard to get out by brushing.

Dental sealants really shine in this area, as they can be applied directly to these molar fissures. The sealant prevents small food particulates and bacteria from getting into the grooves of your molars, cutting down drastically on the risk of cavities.

No Added Protection Between Teeth

Dental sealants can protect the tops of your teeth, but not between your teeth. If you get dental sealants but aren't flossing and brushing regularly, you may still develop cavities between your teeth. They also can't help to protect you from gingivitis and other forms of gum disease, so maintaining regular oral hygiene care is imperative.

Protection Lasts For Years

Dental sealants, on average, are estimated to last up to ten years. This number may vary slightly from person to person, but sealants can protect your teeth for a very long time after they're applied.

Check-Ups Are Still Necessary

While your sealants may not need any touch-ups at all for ten years, you still need to go to a dentist (such as one from Dental Associates PC) for your regular check-ups. This will this help to prevent dental problems that sealants can't protect you from, and it'll allow your dentist to check your sealants for cracks or other problems.

If your dentist finds a crack in a sealant, it can easily be fixed by cleaning the tooth and applying a patch of new sealant over the crack. However, if too much time passes between dental appointments, you could potentially develop a cavity in that sealant crack. In this case, the tooth will probably need to be drilled to remove the cavity, and the sealant will be lost in the process.

If you want to take an extra step to protect your teeth from decay, sealants are a great choice. They won't make your teeth invincible to harm, but they can provide added protection to the teeth that need it most.