Even with proper oral care at home — two minutes of brushing twice a day and once-daily flossing — it can be difficult to clean some tooth surfaces thoroughly. Dental sealants can help adult teeth stay cleaner.
A dental sealant is a protective resin that acts as a barrier against tooth decay. It is applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth (molars) to help smooth over pits and grooves that can be difficult to clean with a toothbrush. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), dental sealants prevent 80 percent of cavities in the molars, where the vast majority of tooth decay occurs.
Who Benefits from Dental Sealants?
Although they are most often associated with pediatric dentistry, sealants can also be beneficial for adults. People whose chewing surfaces have deep grooves, who want to stop a mild tooth lesion from developing into decay, or those who simply want an extra level of protection are all good candidates for sealants.
How Does Dental Sealant Work?
It takes just minutes to apply in our office. First the chewing surfaces are prepared to help the sealant adhere properly, then the sealant is brushed on. The liquid resin flows into the uneven surfaces of the teeth to create a smoother surface. The resin bonds to the enamel and hardens.
Sealant is either white or clear. Because of where it is applied, it is not visible when the patient talks or smiles.
How Long Do Dental Sealants Last?
A sealant application can last for years before it needs to be replaced, but it varies. Over time the sealant can become worn or loose and will not protect teeth as effectively. Chewing on hard foods and ice cubes can break down the sealant material, as well.
Having dental sealants applied is a quick procedure that offers substantial benefits for the right adult patients. Our dentist can determine whether this treatment is a viable option to give you extra protection from tooth decay. If you have had a sealant treatment in the past, we can check to see if it needs reapplication.
With proper at-home care and regular professional cleanings, a dental sealant can be just as effective for adults as it is for children and teenagers. Call our dental office in Saratoga Springs, NY for more information about this treatment and other ways you can achieve a healthy mouth.