Tooth decay can wreak havoc in your mouth, and cavities aren’t the only problem it causes. Tooth decay can contribute to bad breath, increase your risk of infection, and, in the case of severe decay, lead to tooth loss.
Although fillings can help stop the spread of decay once it’s present, there are things you can do to help prevent decay from harming your enamel in the first place. Oral care, such as daily brushing and flossing at home and routine dental cleanings at Dr. Darj Dental, in El Paso, Texas, are the pillars of cavity prevention.
Mehrnoosh Darj, DDS, also offers dental sealants 一 thin protective coatings applied to the chewing surface of your premolars and molars 一 to help “seal out” the bacteria and prevent cavities from forming. Dental sealants benefit patients of all ages. Here’s what you should know.
How dental sealants work
Dental sealants prevent cavities by creating a protective barrier over your teeth 一 a barrier that keeps decay-causing bacteria away from your enamel. Because bacteria and the acid they secrete can’t eat away your enamel beneath the sealant, your risk of decay drops by 80%.
To apply dental sealants, we first dry your teeth and then apply an acid-based solution on the chewing surfaces of your molars and premolars. This solution helps the sealant adhere to your teeth.
After we apply the prep solution, we rinse and dry your teeth and then apply the sealant with a small brush. The sealant bonds to your teeth, and we use a white light to cure the sealants. That’s it!
The sealants remain in place for years. Dr. Darj continues to monitor your sealants at each dental exam, and if your sealants show any signs of wear, we replace them.
Can you benefit from dental sealants?
While sealants are often discussed in regard to pediatric dentistry, the reality is that both adults and children can benefit from dental sealants. We recommend sealants for:
You don’t have to wait until you spot the warning signs of a cavity before you receive a sealant. In fact, the earlier you receive sealants, the earlier you can benefit from their protection.
According to the American Dental Association (ADA), children can receive dental sealants as soon as their molars and premolars emerge. Your child’s first permanent molars erupt around the ages of 6 and 7, while the second molars emerge around the ages of 12 and 13.
Adults and children who’ve already had cavities
If you or your child has already had a cavity, you haven’t missed an opportunity to receive sealants. In fact, applying a dental sealant to the tooth after you receive a filling helps stop future caries on that tooth.
People at high risk for tooth decay
Regardless of your age, individuals who are at high risk for developing cavities can also benefit from dental sealants. You might have an increased risk if you:
- Snack frequently, especially on sugary treats or highly processed food
- Consume sugar-laden drinks, including fruit juice and sugary coffee beverages
- Don’t brush according to the ADA guidelines for a two-full minutes
- Are a young child or an older adult (both age groups have higher rates of caries)
- Have dry mouth (which increases your risk of decay)
Getting sealants is a quick and painless process that can support your or your child’s oral health for years to come. Are you ready to find out if you can benefit from dental sealants? Request an appointment online or call us at 915-213-4097.