Back teeth (premolars and molars) are hard for adults to keep clean, and they’re often even more of a challenge for children. These teeth are essential to breaking down food, and their ridges and grooves are an important part of the process. But these features and their position in the very back of your mouth make molars harder to clean and more vulnerable to tooth decay.
What Are Dental Sealants?
That’s why dentists often recommend dental sealants, a plastic resin that’s placed in the pits and fissures of molars. They’re often applied on children’s or teenagers’ back teeth, and they help protect these areas by forming a barrier to food and plaque. Dental sealants are sometimes recommended for adults who are particularly susceptible to tooth decay.
If you’re wondering if you or your child needs this treatment, the following pros and cons of dental sealants can help point you in the right direction:
- They’re effective in reducing cavities
Dental sealants are very effective. Research shows that they can reduce cavities in 6-year molars up to 80 percent immediately and up to 60 percent for four years or more.
- Sealants are easy and painless
It’s a simple, painless procedure that usually takes just a few minutes per tooth. The teeth are cleaned, and then a solution is applied so that the sealant will adhere to the tooth. The sealant is painted onto the tooth enamel, where it bonds to the tooth and hardens.
- They’re usually long-lasting
They often last for years, and we can check and easily reapply them as needed.
- Some people have concerns over BPA
The sealants contain very small amounts of the chemical bisphenol-A, or BPA. Some studies have linked BPA to health problems. The American Dental Association (ADA) supports continued research but believes that any concern is greatly outweighed by the benefits of sealants.
- Sealants may not be needed for everyone
Are dental sealants safe for kids? In some children, they may not necessarily be needed. Some children are less prone to tooth decay than others and may have better oral hygiene habits.
- They can’t be used in some circumstances
Sealants aren’t recommended for teeth that already have signs of decay or fillings.
Talk with the staff at My Family Dentistry about your individual oral care needs or those of your child. We can discuss the pros and cons of dental sealants and advise you on the best course of action.