Dental experts recommend brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing them. Sadly, upholding proper oral hygiene does not always guarantee healthy teeth because you are still prone to tooth cavities. Visible pits and grooves on the teeth, sensitivity, and impulsive pain on the impacted tooth and surrounding areas indicate that you could suffer from tooth decay.

If you are experiencing these symptoms, dental sealants are the best way to arrest the decay and prevent further damage. When considering the treatment, you will wonder how the sealants stop decay. The answer to the question is discussed below.

A Glance at How  Sealants Halt or Prevent Tooth Decay

Your dentist always encourages you to maintain healthy oral hygiene habits by brushing and flossing your teeth at least twice daily after meals. Maintaining good oral habits should be coupled with biannual visits to the dental clinic for examination and cleaning. These biannual visits help the dentist identify oral problems like tooth decay early and stop the concerns from progressing.

Also, during these visits, your dentist performs a deep cleaning to remove the plaque and calculus that regular brushing cannot remove. If the plaque were left to accumulate in the mouth, it would lead to toxic bacteria and acids that lead to cavities and decay.

Sometimes, regardless of how much you observe healthy oral hygiene habits and care for your teeth, they will be prone to damage, primarily the molars. When you experience the concern, you will wonder how it happened. Your back teeth have nooks and depressions that allow food debris accumulation, which toxic bacteria and acids in the mouth feed on, creating dental cavities. If you do not stop these cavities early, they damage the entire tooth. However, tooth decay should not worry you because you can stop or prevent it using dental sealants.

Tooth decay or cavities typically happen due to toxic acids produced by bacteria that feed on food debris. The dental concern is addressed when your dentist applies the tooth-colored protective layer to your teeth' chewing or biting surfaces. The layer is called the dental sealant and acts as a barrier, preventing food debris, plaque, and acids from contacting your enamel.

Sealants are also used to stop existing decay. It typically happens during checkup visits to the dentist. When the dentist observes signs of decay during the examination, and the condition is not severe, they paint the tooth with sealant to prevent further decay. When the pits and depressions in your teeth are no longer exposed to harmful bacteria from food debris, the decay stops, which is how sealants help stop this dental concern.

Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that dental sealants prevent 80% of cavities in the molars for 24 months after placement, where nine out of every ten cavities occur. The data shows the effectiveness of the procedure in stopping and preventing cavities.

Dental Sealants Meaning

Sealants are a thin, tooth-colored, transparent plastic coating applied to the chewing surface of your back teeth to halt or prevent the formation of dental cavities. The protective layer is a barrier that protects the tooth surface from contact with elements that increase the risk of tooth decay, like toxic acids and bacteria that stem from calculus and plaque buildup.

Sometimes, your dentist can even place the protective coating on the premolars and bicuspids for elevated protection. Nevertheless, the relatively even parts of these front teeth mean they are sufficiently protected from fluoride in toothpaste and drinking water, making them less prone to cavities. Molars or back teeth, on the other hand, have rough surfaces to allow for proper chewing. Still, the uneven surfaces can be disadvantageous because the nooks allow for the accumulation of toxic bacteria and acids that cause cavities. Therefore, dentists focus more on applying sealants to molars.

Children are the best candidates for dental sealants because they are prone to decay. However, adults prone to cavities can also opt for the procedure. Age is not a factor in protecting your tooth enamel with a plastic coating that prevents toxic acids from eroding your tooth surface. Sealants stop or prevent decay, enabling your teeth to remain healthy and good-looking for an extended time.

Sealants are ideal for tooth decay that is in the initial stages. The cavities are small during this time, and applying a protective layer prevents germs and food debris from contacting the enamel, stopping further decay.

Reasons You Should Consider Using Dental Sealants to Halt Tooth Decay

Many dental patients believe that sealants are a modern dentistry treatment. Nevertheless, the truth is that sealants have been around since the 1960s. Sealants offer several benefits: they are safe, painless, easy to place, and affordable in the long run. They stop further decay, thus avoiding expensive and highly invasive procedures like dental fillings.

Primary Ways that Dental Sealants Prevent or Halt Tooth Decay

Dentists offer various dental services to address multiple concerns and give you beautiful, functional, and healthy teeth. One of the common dental concerns dentists address is tooth decay. Everyone is susceptible to cavities, adults and children included, regardless of their oral hygiene. When you leave a cavity unattended for a long time, it develops into an abscess, which is associated with severe pain. The cavities even weaken the tooth structure, leading to tooth loss.

Luckily, you can use sealants to prevent cavities. Also, they can stop tooth decay if your dentist detects it early. Painting dental sealers on the affected teeth is quick and painless and still offers multiple benefits.

How do dental sealants prevent decay and cavities?

They Act as a Barrier, Protecting the Teeth Against Plaque and Food Debris Accumulation

A sealant is a thin protective layer painted on the biting part of your back teeth. The primary benefit of the acrylic coating is to protect the tooth enamel from factors that erode it, like harmful acids produced in the mouth by bacteria in plaque and food debris.

Your teeth have pits and grooves that help with chewing. Despite the functional benefits of the grooves when chewing, they allow for food particle accumulation. The food particles later become plaque and tartar because brushing and flossing these areas is difficult, primarily when cleaning the back teeth.

You eat various foods daily to maintain a balanced diet for healthy teeth and well-being. However you keep your diet, some sugars are likely trapped in the pits. The sugars in these food debris produce toxic acids that wear out the enamel, causing cavities.

Brushing or flossing teeth as directed will only remove part of these food particles, and some remain stuck in the grooves. Therefore, regular oral routines only help lower the effects of the sugars but do not prevent decay or cavities entirely. Demineralization will occur with harmful acids and bacteria still trapped in the pits. The acid will continue eroding the enamel's minerals, allowing for decay and cavities.

Dental sealants close the pits in the biting surface of your teeth, preventing the possibility of food particles, bacteria, and tartar buildup. While you should be mindful of your diet, the sealants create a protective coating that prevents cavities and stops tooth decay.

They Simplify Tooth Cleaning

Dental sealants focus primarily on the back teeth, molars, and premolars because these are the teeth that chew and grind most of the food. The back teeth have pits and cracks that enable them to crush and chew food into small particles for easy swallowing. However, the grooves have their downside because food debris can stick in these areas as much as they help with chewing, elevating the risk of cavities.

Adequately brushing or flossing your teeth helps remove this debris from the pits, as your dentist recommends. However, regardless of your oral hygiene, some debris remains trapped in the corners and crannies. The debris combines with germs to create plaque. Hardened plaque then forms calculus, or tartar, which allows for the breeding of harmful bacteria and acids that cause oral concerns like tooth decay and cavities.

Thankfully, sealants simplify your oral care routine by sealing the pits in the targeted teeth. Although you will have grooves to enable chewing and grinding, removing debris with the protective coating will be speedy, helping preserve the tooth’s integrity and stopping decay. With sealants, even existing tooth decay will not progress; hence, you will not be required to schedule meetings with your dentist for treatment procedures like dental fills and crowns.

Sealants are Long-lasting

Even though sealants will not offer permanent protection to your teeth, they can last 36 to 60 months when correctly placed and with proper maintenance. However, you will require regular visits to the dentist for examinations for repairs and the sealing of the worn-out parts.

Many patients, particularly children, are afraid of dental clinics. Unfortunately, children are susceptible to cavities at their age, meaning they need more dentist visits. Dental sealants help reduce these visits, which is suitable for most children. Once your dentist places the sealants, they can last up to ten years, meaning your children will have protection from decay and cavities for a long time. The only visits you will make to the dentist are for routine checkups and maintenance. However, for the sealants to last a decade, you must remain still to enable the dental expert to thoroughly clean the teeth and apply the protective coating.

With the protection of dental sealants, you can stay for a decade without the need for expensive restorative treatments.

Dental Sealants Candidacy

Dental sealants have several benefits. Now that you are familiar with the benefits, you are eager to know whether you qualify for the process. Children and adolescents whose teeth are still in good shape are candidates for the treatment. Adults with teeth susceptible to decay and cavities are also eligible for the treatment.

The most suitable time for the children to have the treatment is when the back teeth begin to sprout. Children between six and fourteen years are susceptible to cavities, so this should be the right age to have dental sealants.

Speak to your dentist if your child’s baby teeth have grooves and pits. Applying sealant can help protect the reliability of these teeth and prevent early extraction due to cavities.

Dental Sealants Procedure

The process of obtaining dental sealants is quick and non-invasive. It aims at warding off tooth decay before it settles in. If you are considering the treatment, your dental expert will arrange an appointment for an evaluation. For children, your child’s pediatrician will suggest sealants immediately when the back teeth begin to shoot.

Once the dentist confirms your candidacy for the procedure, they will schedule the treatment. When you come in for the treatment, you will go to a dental hygienist who will isolate the targeted teeth and thoroughly clean them. Your dental professional will then prep the cleaned teeth by drying them with an absorbent material like cotton.

After that, your dental expert roughens the tooth surface using acid. The solution is applied to the biting surface where the protective coating is placed. Roughening the surfaces allows for sufficient adhesion to the sealant.

The dentist then rinses the mouth to take out the acid solution. Once the teeth are dry, the dentist applies the thin, tooth-colored, nontoxic, and transparent plastic layer on the back teeth. After applying the sealant, the dentist hardens it using a unique light to establish a protective coating that is virtually invisible.

After curing the bonding material, the process will be complete, and you will be free to go home. 

Insurance Coverage

If you plan on undergoing a dental sealant procedure, you must understand the costs. Individuals working with a tight budget should not worry because sealants are a preventative treatment, meaning many insurers provide coverage to foot 80% to 100% of the total cost. Nevertheless, consult your dental insurance provider for precise details on the coverage.

Find a Reputable Dental Practice Near Me

Consider dental sealants if you plan to take your dental health or your child's to the next level. At the Lasting Impressions Dental Spa, we recommend preventative care for stopping decay and preventing cavities. If you have dental problems in Encino, CA, call us at 818-751-5100 to arrange an appointment.