Our dentists are great at restoring the look and function of your teeth. Using techniques like tooth filling, crowns, bridges, and dentures, the dentists at Klement Family Dental can bring back your healthy-looking smile. What we love, though, is helping prevent those problems from happening in the first place.
That’s why we put so much emphasis on the benefits of good preventative care. Preventing problems with your teeth before they happen can help you keep your natural teeth longer and keep your dental care costs lower over time. At-home dental hygiene like brushing and flossing is a big part of this preventative care. Coming in for regular teeth cleaning appointments are another important part. One of the most effective preventative methods we highly recommend, though, are dental sealants.
Dental sealants can prevent cavities by keeping food and bacteria away from the surface of your teeth. We can do this quick and painless procedure during your regular preventative care appointment. The protection of the sealant can last for years, too, making them a cost-effective treatment for the protection of your teeth.
If you haven’t had a dental sealant before, take time to learn about the benefits for your teeth and how it could help maintain your beautiful smile. If you have questions or would like to make an appointment for a dental sealant application, contact our St. Pete’s dental team today.
What Are Dental Sealants?
Dental sealants are a thin film that bonds to the surface of your teeth. The sealant starts as a liquid that the dentist brushes onto each tooth, then hardens with the use of a special light. Once it’s hardened, the sealant bonds to the surface of the tooth. That prevents any food or bacteria from getting into the deep crevices of your teeth, where cavities are most likely to form.
Dental sealants are most commonly placed on the chewing surface of the molars. This is where deep crevices are, which is the place cavities are most likely to form. Dental sealants are totally transparent, so they won’t alter the appearance of your teeth. The procedure to apply the dental sealant onto your teeth is painless and only takes a few minutes, but the results can last for years.
Are Dental Sealants Worth It?
Brushing and flossing is still the best preventative care you can provide for your teeth. However, there are many deep crevices and grooves in the teeth that normal brushing may not be able to clean. The bristles on your brush can only reach so far. That could leave food or bacteria in the deep depressions of your teeth, which can cause issues such as cavities. Applying a dental sealant can help by preventing anything from settling into those deep crevices. That keeps the areas clean when the bristles on your brush can’t reach them.
Sealants need to be properly applied by a professional to be effective, though. When done correctly, they can be up to 100% effective against (help you fight against) cavities. According to the CDC, dental sealants protect your teeth from 80% of cavities for the first two years and 50% of cavities for the next two. Over time, the bond between the sealant and your teeth can become compromised and start to allow food particles and bacteria in. So, even if you have sealants, you’ll want to continue with a good dental hygiene routine that includes brushing and flossing to help care for the sealants.
Because of their great protection, though, sealants are definitely worth getting. They can be especially effective on new teeth, so having them applied to children’s new adult teeth can protect the new enamel while it strengthens. Sealants are less expensive than a filling and help maintain the structural integrity of the teeth, so they are stronger later in life, too. That can offset the cost of the sealant and help you keep your beautiful natural smile.
The Two Big Reasons Dental Sealants Are Worth It
- They help you save money on dental care over time. Preventative care is always less expensive than restorative care. So the more you can take care of your teeth now, the less you’ll have to pay to take care of them in the future. Treatments like dental sealants can prevent issues with teeth such as cavities and help them stay healthier longer.
- Keep food from lodging in the deep crevices of your teeth. If you run your tongue over the top of your teeth, especially your molars in the back, you’ll feel all sorts of crevices and pits there. Those areas are tough to clean, even with regular brushing. A dental sealant will help fill in those crevices, so food doesn’t get stuck and create enamel-destroying bacteria. That can keep your breath fresher, too.
If you want these benefits for your family’s teeth, get in touch with the Klement Family Dental team to make an appointment in our St. Petersburg or Old Northeast office.
Who Should Get Dental Sealants
Dental sealants can be a great preventative dental care treatment for patients of all ages. Even if you’ve never had sealants before, they could prevent further issues with your teeth, especially if you are prone to cavities. So whether you are an adult or child, dental sealants can be a great preventative treatment for your teeth.
Dental Sealants for Children
Children can get the most benefit from dental sealants. Our St. Petersburg’s dentists routinely recommend sealants for our patients under the age of 18. That’s because children and teens are the most susceptible to cavities, on their new adult teeth. Sealants can help protect those new teeth. Sealants are also great for younger children who maybe haven’t mastered cleaning their own teeth yet.
We generally recommend sealants for children as soon as their first permanent molars are fully erupted. This happens around the age of six for most of our younger patients, but it’s different for every child. Your child’s dentist will check on their new teeth as they emerge and inform you whether they recommend applying a sealant to them.
Dental Sealants for Adults
It’s not only children who can benefit from sealants. After all, you can get cavities at any age. So older patients should ask about sealants, too. They may be most beneficial for those prone to developing cavities, especially in the pits and grooves of their back teeth. Applying sealants as an adult can help prevent the need for restorative dentistry work later in life, which may weaken the teeth.
If you’d like to have a dental sealant applied to your teeth, talk to your dentist at your next appointment. In most cases, our dental team can apply a sealant to any tooth that isn’t already affected by decay.
FAQs About Dental Sealants
How Long Do Dental Sealants Last?
The CDC reports that sealants can last on a tooth for up to nine years. Of course, the longer they are on the tooth, the less effective they become for protection. That’s because sealants will naturally become compromised over time as you brush, floss, eat, and drink. They are generally the most effective the first couple of years they are on your teeth. So, Klement Family Dental recommends having the sealant reapplied every few years. This will help you make sure you are getting maximum protection from each application.
Our team will check the condition of your sealant on each visit. We will let you know when reapplication is going to be necessary.
How Do I Care for My Dental Sealants?
Dental sealants will last longer if you take good care of them. It’s important that you maintain a healthy dental hygiene regimen to preserve your sealants. Make sure that you:
- Brush your teeth after meals
- Floss twice daily
- Attend dental cleanings at least twice a year
You’ll want to use a soft-bristled toothbrush on your teeth along with toothpaste. Make sure you brush the tops and sides of your teeth. The sealant will be strongly bonded to the surface of your teeth by this point, so regular brushing won’t loosen them or ruin the bond with the enamel on your teeth.
Continuing your dental hygiene routine at home after you get sealant is important for your gums, too. That’s because while a sealant protects your teeth, your gums are still susceptible to bacteria and damage. Dental hygiene like brushing and flossing will help them stay healthy, too.
Do Dental Sealants Hurt When They are Applied?
The procedure to apply dental sealants is painless. You’ll sit comfortably in a chair while our dental team works on your teeth. They start by cleaning the teeth to make sure there is no debris or plaque buildup. They then paint the liquid onto each tooth with a small toothbrush. Which is then hardened by a special light, which only takes a few minutes. You’ll be able to sit comfortably in our dental chairs and watch the television or listen to music on your headphones.
Will Insurance Cover the Cost of Dental Sealants?
Since every insurance plan is different, one of our caring team members will work with you to help maximize your dental insurance and provide you with a treatment estimate. If you would like sealants for yourself or a child, you’ll want to check your dental insurance policy to see if they cover the treatment. Our team can help you determine your coverage, as well.
If sealants aren’t covered by your insurance, talk to our team about financing and payment options.
What Foods Should I Avoid After Getting Dental Sealants?
Sealants are hard, dry, and bonded to your teeth in just a few minutes. By the time you leave the Klement Family Dentist office, you’ll be able to eat and drink normally. It’s likely that you’ll forget the sealants are even there because they feel and look so much like your natural teeth.
However, whether your teeth have sealants or not, you should try to avoid any foods that are really sticky or hard. This includes things like hard candies, ice cubes, and caramels. These can cause damage to the sealant, meaning you’ll need to have it reapplied much sooner.
If your sealant cracks or becomes damaged by something you eat, you probably won’t notice. The material we use on your teeth is non-toxic, though, so if you swallow it, it will safely pass through your system. We can reapply the sealant on your next visit.
What Happens If I Get a Cavity Under the Dental Sealant?
Dental sealants are fantastic at what they do, but even the best dental sealant won’t prevent 100% of cavities forever. If you do get a cavity under your dental sealant, our dental team will simply remove the sealant and give the cavity the treatment that it needs. That may be a filling or, if the decay is severe, removing more of the tooth and replacing it with a crown.
The good news is that sealants are totally clear, so our dental team can keep an eye on the health of your teeth even while the sealant is in place.
The Klement Family Dentist Team is Passionate About Preventative Dental Care
We know that the best dental care is the care that prevents problems from happening in the first place. Along with dental sealants, Klement Family Dentist offers teeth cleanings, fluoride, desensitizing agents, and other treatments to keep your teeth healthy. If something does happen, though, you can depend on our team to provide you with high-quality restorative care, too. Whatever your teeth need, we have you covered.
Get in touch with us today to make an appointment for dental sealants or one of our other dental services. Our friendly, compassionate, and gentle dentists are happy to work with every member of your family to give you the best smile possible. Just give us a call at either our St Pete’s or Old Northeast location, or book an appointment through our website today.