Brushing twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste and flossing daily remains the best way to prevent cavities; however, it can be difficult to get every area, especially for kids. Luckily there are sealants which help prevent cavities while your kids are learning how to properly brush and floss.

What are Dental Sealants?

Sealants are a thin layer of composite resin that is placed over the grooves of molars and sometimes pre-molars. It adheres to the tooth to protect the grooves from trapped food and bacteria.

What does The American Dental Association say about Dental Sealants? Learn More HERE.

Dental Sealants: Children AND Adults

Sealants can be used on children and adults; however, the earlier they are applied the better. Children typically get their first permanent molars around age 6 and their second molars around age 12. Applying sealants on these teeth as soon as they erupt is crucial in preventing cavities. Once a cavity has formed on the tooth, a filling will be needed to restore the tooth. Unlike fillings, sealants are quick and painless to apply and do not require the teeth to be numbed. In the long run, sealants can save you time and money and can save your child from having more extensive work done. Sealants can also be used on adults to prevent decay, so it is never too late to have them put on.

How Long Do Dental Sealants Last?

Sealants typically last several years before needing to be re-applied. Your dentist will evaluate your sealants at every dental exam and reapply them as needed. Typically, sealants can be applied in the same visit as your cleaning.

Dental Sealants Application Process:

To place sealants…

  • Your dentist will clean and dry your tooth.
  • An acidic gel will be placed on your tooth, this part is completely painless, and then rinse the gel off. The gel helps roughen up the surface of your tooth, which allows the sealant to stick to your tooth. This part does not affect the integrity of your enamel and causes no damage to the tooth.
  • The sealant will be applied to the tooth.
  • Your dentist will use a light to cure the sealant and make it stick to your tooth.
  • Once this part is done you are ready to go about your day!

You Still Need to BRUSH YOUR TEETH!

Sealants are often clear which can allow your dentist to monitor your tooth for any signs of decay. Just because a sealant is applied does not mean your tooth is immune from cavities. If you are not brushing and flossing properly your tooth can still get a cavity.

Studies have shown that sealants can reduce the risk of decay on molars by up to 80%! Next time you are at the dentist, ask about sealants and if they are a good option for you or your children!

Related Article: Preventing Cavities: How Important is Nutrition to Oral Health

Additional Answers to Your Questions about Dental Sealants:

Q. Are dental sealants safe?
A. Many parents naturally wonder whether dental sealants are actually safe for their children. The American Dental Association (ADA) and U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have both determined that dental sealants are safe for children and adults.
Q. Do sealants prevent cavities?
A. Sealants are a quick, easy, and painless way to prevent most of the cavities children get in the permanent back teeth, where 9 in 10 cavities occur. Once applied, sealants protect against 80% of cavities for 2 years and continue to protect against 50% of cavities for up to 4 years.
Q. Can you still get cavities with sealants?
A. They’re no substitute for brushing and flossing, but they can keep cavities from forming and may even stop early stages of decay from becoming a full-blown cavity. In fact, sealants have been shown to reduce the risk of decay by nearly 80% in molars. 
Q. Does my child need sealants?
A. Dental sealants are recommended for children and teenagers aged six and 14 years as they are more likely to develop dental cavities. However, we also have dental sealants for adults who don’t have tooth decay or fillings.
Q Can you put sealants over fillings?
A. Ideally, dentists apply sealants before a tooth has decay or fillings. As the years go by, however, fewer of an adult’s teeth are likely to be in this pristine condition. This is especially true of the chewing surfaces of the grinding teeth. Once a tooth has a filling, there’s little point in applying sealant there.
Q. Are sealants and fillings the same?
A. Filling: A filling is used to repair damage that has occurred to a tooth, usually from dental decay, and is necessary to restore a tooth after a cavity or hole has formed from tooth decay.
Sealant: A sealant is used to cover a portion of a tooth to prevent damage from occurring. 
Q. Can you chew gum with sealants?
A. Sealants may take a day or two to conform entirely to the tooth’s shape, but once they have, the treated teeth feel no different from the others. They don’t interfere with eating, chewing, talking, singing, playing a musical instrument, or smiling.
Q. How do you take care of dental sealants?
A. Follow these care suggestions:
  1. Say no to sticky or chewy sugary foods, like caramel, taffy, and tough fruit chews like Starburst or roll-ups.
  2. Encourage your child to maintain excellent daily oral hygiene.
  3. Avoid chewing on hard sticky candies.
  4. Avoid chewing on ice.
Q. How often do dental sealants need to be replaced?
A. After getting the dental sealants, patients can expect them to last up to 10 years with adequate oral care. They will not need to be removed; instead, the sealants will deteriorate with time until the dentist determines that they need to be replaced.
Do you have other Dental Questions? We have more answers for you HERE.

Preventing Cavities with Luff Dental 

Preventing cavities is our goal! We’re here to help you overcome oral health challenges and any other dental challenges you or your family may be experiencing.

Work with Dr. Luff and her team to find the most effective solution for your smile! We are always accepting new patients in the Lee’s Summit, MO and surrounding area who are ready to improve the health of their teeth, their confidence and smile! Please call Luff Dental at (816) 875-3391 to schedule your appointment.