Sealants are thin plastic coatings applied to the deep grooves in the chewing surfaces of back teeth. These grooves are tiny traps for food particles and easily become the most common place for tooth decay to occur. It’s very hard for a toothbrush to get into these tiny crevices and grooves in the teeth in order to clean them out thoroughly. Sealants work like a protective shield by filling in these grooves in the enamel and keeping food out.
Sealants are typically applied at a cleaning appointment to freshly cleaned teeth that are prepared with an acid etching of the enamel to enhance the grooves of the surface. The sealing material is then applied to the prepared surface like a varnish and bonds with the enamel by filling in all the little grooves.
Many insurance plans provide coverage for sealants, but most commonly only for children. That’s because the best bet for sealants to be most effective is to get them while the tooth is still young and without decay. Children and teens are great candidates for sealants, but adults with sound teeth can benefit from sealants as well in some cases. Deeply grooved baby teeth can sometimes benefit from sealants too, to help keep out decay and keep them healthy until it’s time for adult teeth to replace them.
Sealants are subject to wear-and-tear, but they can last for years. A good way to get the most out them is avoid things like chewing ice or hard candy or anything that can cause unnecessary breakage to the material.
Sealants make a great added barrier of protection over the tiny impossible-to-clean grooves in the chewing surfaces of back teeth. As the old saying goes, “An once of prevention is worth a pound of cure”, and since Mall of Georgia Dentistry is always looking after your smile, don’t be surprised if sealants are recommended at your child or teen’s next visit!