Dental sealants refer to a type of preventative treatment a dentist often uses for their pediatric patients. The process helps to protect teeth against cavities. And kids can appreciate this extra shield to preserve the natural structure of their smiles. But as we reach adulthood, we do not always undergo this treatment anymore.
Does this mean that adult dental patients cannot receive sealants? No, all patients can get sealants from their dentists if they prefer. But they should consult with their dental expert to learn if this will suit their unique oral health needs. Read on to find out more about this general dental solution and its oral health advantages.
What Do Dental Sealants Do?
A dental sealant is a coating of protective material that a dentist applies over a vulnerable tooth. It is made from a composite resin that the dentist paints onto the tooth’s surface. It hardens to form a barrier between the tooth and bacteria that could create a cavity.
Cavities form when the natural oral bacteria penetrate the enamel, the outer layer of the tooth, and begin to eat away at the dental structure. This results in permanent damage to the tooth’s structure.
A dentist can fill holes in the tooth from this decay with a filling, restoring the tooth’s health. But ideally, you should preserve your natural teeth as much as you can. So dentists use sealants to help stop bacteria from reaching the teeth to give you cavities.
Can Adults Benefit from Dental Sealants?
Pediatric dental patients might need the extra protection from sealants for a few reasons. They might not brush their teeth as well as they need to at a young age, meaning their teeth can be more susceptible to cavities without sealants.
But adults form tooth decay too and may have certain risk factors that mean they have a greater chance of getting cavities. They may have poor oral habits that could mean they get more cavities, or they have underlying health concerns that make their teeth more vulnerable to decay. Examples include medications that cause dry mouth or chronic teeth grinding.
In these cases, diligent at-home and in-office oral health care may not be enough to stop a dental patient from forming cavities. Dental sealants on adult patients’ teeth can therefore preserve their smiles from tooth decay better.
Am I a Good Candidate for Sealants?
If you think dental sealants could help you maintain good oral health, talk to your dentist. They will consider your current dental structure and your medical history to determine if this treatment can help you achieve your oral health goals.
You will still need to adhere to good oral hygiene habits if you want to prevent cavities effectively. But dental sealants can serve as a boost of protection for your smile, especially if you have risk factors that put your teeth in danger of cavities. Discuss other preventative care measures you can take at your next dental check-up.