One of the best ways to protect teeth from decay is through the application of dental sealants. Typically used on the newly erupted molars of kids, dental sealants can also be beneficial for cavity-prone adults. At Beachside Smiles in Manhattan Beach, CA, we offer this simple, fast, and effective preventive dentistry treatment for any patient who needs it.

Understanding Dental Sealants

Dental sealants act as a barrier between tooth enamel and the elements that contribute to decay, including bacteria, plaque, and acids. The sealant itself is a thin, plastic coating either clear-colored or white, and it is painted on the chewing surface of molars and premolars. Here are some things to know about cavities and sealants:

Two Doctors with Dummy Crown
  • Decay occurs most often in back teeth which can be more difficult to clean and are therefore more vulnerable to developing tooth decay.
  • Sealants are applied to permanent teeth once they have erupted and create a smooth surface that protects tooth enamel.
  • Sealants cannot be applied to teeth that are decayed but, once a tooth has received a composite filling, it can be treated with a sealant.
  • Just like teeth cleanings, daily brushing and flossing, and dental exams, sealants are a proactive way to protect teeth from damage.

The Dental Sealant Procedure

The process for applying dental sealants is quick, painless, and non-invasive, requiring only minutes to complete the application. It just takes patience and a dry tooth.

  • Prep: Tooth is cleaned, rinsed, and completely dried. A sealant must be applied to a dry tooth.
  • Treat: The tooth is treated with an acidic solution that creates a rough surface so the sealant can properly adhere. Once this gel has dried, the tooth is rinsed and dried again.
  • Seal: Liquid sealant is brushed on the tooth until the surface is thoroughly covered.
  • Cure: The sealant is cured using a blue light, which forms a strong, plastic, unnoticeable varnish over the biting surface of the treated tooth, protecting it from plaque and bacteria that could lead to cavities.

Dental sealants can last up to 10 years and do not need to be removed – they wear away over time but can be replaced as needed. Their longevity makes them ideal for young children and teens and, ideally, by the time a patient has reached young adulthood their brushing and flossing techniques are strong enough to ward off decay. It’s important to remember that the presence of sealants can prevent cavities but does not take the place of good oral hygiene and dental visits.

Who Needs Dental Sealants?

Children are prone to cavities and are considered the best candidates for dental sealants. Here’s why:

  • They do not have strong brushing and flossing techniques.
  • They may try hard but do not always brush well enough to clean their teeth thoroughly.
  • Kids often admit to skipping brushing, not using toothpaste, or doing the bare minimum to make it seem like they brushed.
  • Children eat a lot and often, so their teeth are hard at work all day and exposed to excessive amounts of bacteria and food particles, which can lead to decay.

Baby teeth do fall out, of course, but they are critical placeholders for adult teeth and it’s important to take care of them. You want to prevent tooth decay in every possible way and that includes taking good care of your child’s teeth with the application of dental sealants.

Get Dental Sealants in Manhattan Beach

Dental sealants are right for your child, but they may also be good for you too if you have cavity-prone teeth. Talk to the dental team at Beachside Smiles to find out whether you would benefit from this preventive dental treatment. Schedule a consultation today.

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