Did you know that a human bite can be more dangerous than a bite from an animal? This is because there are more germs, called bacteria, in the human mouth than there are in some places that you might think have a lot of germs. Your mouth is constantly producing more than 1,000 different kinds of germs, especially when you eat. If you don’t brush regularly and take good care of your teeth, germs will eventually cause tooth decay, or cavities. One way your dentist can help you prevent tooth decay is by using something called a dental sealant.
What is a dental sealant?
A dental sealant is a type of coating that your dentist may put on your permanent back teeth on the surfaces that come into direct contact with food; that is, the chewing surfaces. Dental sealants are usually applied on the first permanent molar to become fully exposed.
What are dental sealants used for?
Your back teeth have tiny, deep grooves or fissures. These grooves are so tiny that not even a single bristle from your toothbrush can reach in to clean them. This is great if you are a germ, but not so great if you want healthy teeth. A sealant can fill in these grooves like a waterproof coating and keep the germs from settling in and causing problems.
When does the dentist put sealants on teeth?
The best time for putting sealants on teeth is when the very first permanent tooth, usually a molar, is completely poking out of the gum, at the age of around six years. The second molars come through around the age of 12. Sometimes baby teeth need dental sealants, too.
Do dental sealants hurt?
While everybody is different, there is no reason why getting sealants for teeth should hurt. In fact, getting sealants is a good procedure to have for your first dental treatment.
Can adults get sealants for teeth?
Yes. Sometimes adults have grooves in their back teeth, especially if they have not had to have them filled. Sealants can help keep these teeth from becoming decayed.
What do sealants on teeth look like?
Sealants may be white, clear or slightly tinted, depending on the type of dental sealant used.
How long do dental sealants last?
Sealants on teeth may last as long as ten years. It is a good idea to have them regularly checked. If they are chipped or have worn off, your dentist can always apply more dental sealant.
Are sealants covered by insurance?
Some private insurance companies do cover the cost of sealants. It makes sense for them because it can prevent more expensive dental work from becoming necessary. Always check with your insurance company to make sure.