Grab a mirror and take a close look at the tops of your molars. They’re like tiny mountain ranges, filled with crevices and grooves and peaks. Although these unsmooth surfaces help us chew by providing traction, they can also become a breeding ground for bacteria if you aren’t careful. Children are especially susceptible because their teeth are not as worn down as an adult’s teeth. If your teeth (or your child’s teeth) have very deep crevices and grooves, your dentist may recommend dental sealants to reduce your risk of tooth decay. Dental sealants are very effective, but you might wonder about their longevity. How long do dental sealants last?
How Do Dental Sealants Work?
Sometimes even a fantastic oral health routine – thorough yet gentle brushing twice a day, careful flossing once a day, visits to the dentist every six months or so – isn’t enough to prevent the build-up of bacteria. If your teeth (or your child’s teeth) have deep crevices, your dentist might recommend dental sealants to prevent the accumulation of plaque and tartar.
How do dental sealants work? Sealants are very thin, plastic coatings that your dental team can apply to the chewing surfaces of your teeth. They fill in those crevices and grooves, protecting them from decay.
The application process is very easy, as sealants are painted onto teeth in a liquid form – almost like painting on nail polish! Then, the teeth are thoroughly dried, hardening the sealant and creating a protective barrier.
Because the plastic is typically clear or whitish, it is inconspicuous. You might be able to feel the change with your tongue, however, and some people feel like they’re “biting onto something” after the treatment. But because sealants are thin and smooth, you should quickly adjust to your new bite. In a few days, you’ll probably forget the sealants are even there!
That said, if your teeth still feel strange after several days, call your dentist’s office for advice. Sometimes certain spots need to be adjusted to improve the comfort of the bite.
How Long Do Dental Sealants Last?
They may be effective, safe, and easily applied, but how long do dental sealants last? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, dental sealants protect against 80 percent of cavities for two years and 50 percent of cavities for up to four years. They may offer protection up to nine years after placement.
Your dentist and dental hygienist will check the condition of your sealants at your bi-annual check-ups. Sometimes a dental sealant will fall out, so it’s important that they are checked regularly. Fortunately, a missing sealant can easily be replaced.
If several years have passed since your dental sealants were applied, your dentist can help you decide if it would be worthwhile to reapply them.
Are you a good candidate for dental sealants? Could your child benefit from this cavity-preventing treatment? To better understand how the treatment works and whether it’s a good fit for your teeth, ask your dentist about dental sealants during your next appointment.
If you’re looking for an experienced, reliable, and friendly dentist near Springfield, Missouri, contact Wilkinson Dental. Dr. Wilkinson and his team will give you the personalized treatment you deserve using state-of-the-art technology. For exceptional and comprehensive dental care, schedule your first appointment today by calling 417-708-0556 or requesting an appointment online. We look forward to hearing from you!