A dental sealant refers to a type of routine care a dentist can provide their patients to protect teeth from cavities. Primarily, dentists tend to offer this option to their pediatric patients, but they often stop recommending it once a patient reaches adulthood. This does not mean that adults cannot receive dental sealants though.
Each patient has their own oral health needs, and sealants can provide protection against tooth decay for patients of any age. Consult with your dentist to find optimal dental care for your unique smile. Read on to learn more about the benefits of preventative treatment with dental sealants.
What Do Dental Sealants Do?
Treatment with dental sealants involves coating a vulnerable tooth with a protective material. It is a thin layer of composite resin applied with a brush and painted onto the tooth’s surface. It hardens to create a barrier between the tooth enamel and bacteria that could potentially cause cavities.
A cavity forms when natural oral bacteria penetrate your enamel, eating away at your dental structure. This permanent damage to your tooth will worsen as the decay progresses.
A dentist can treat a cavity by drilling away the decay and restoring the tooth’s shape with a dental filling. But ideally, you should preserve your natural dental structure for as long as you can.
The sealants will stop bacteria from accessing your teeth which can reduce your risk for cavities. Follow your dentist’s aftercare guidelines after this treatment to ensure the dental work settles properly and lasts for as long as possible.
Can Adults Benefit from Sealants?
Dentists often suggest dental sealant treatment for their pediatric patients. Children might need this extra protection for their teeth because they could struggle to brush their teeth with proper technique at this young age. Without effective oral hygiene, their teeth could be at a greater risk for cavities.
Adults form tooth decay as well and could possess risk factors that put their smile in more danger than the average dental patient. Underlying health concerns, including aggressive oral bacteria, may mean you could get more cavities, no matter your age. Certain medications may cause dry mouth, which will also increase your likelihood of forming tooth decay.
So for these patients, diligent at-home oral health care might not be enough to stave off tooth decay. Dental sealants for these adults could therefore allow them to better protect and preserve their dental health.
Are Sealants Right for Me?
Talk to your dentist about your preventative dental care, including both in-office and at-home maintenance. They can evaluate your existing dental structure and your medical history to determine if dental sealants can help you maintain good oral health.
You will still need to adhere to proper oral hygiene after receiving sealants. This treatment will boost protection against cavities, but it will work best in conjunction with your usual routine dental care. Make sure you continue visiting your dentist for oral exams and teeth cleanings too to best fight cavities.