Dental Sealants in Helotes & Alamo Ranch
Did you know that your mouth is a mobile home for millions of bacteria? These microscopic organisms are hard at work every day. Some perform the important job of helping to break down food as part of the process of digestion. Other bacteria, however, are not nearly as helpful; these are the bacteria that excrete acids and other toxins that can eventually lead to tooth decay.
But what if there was a roadblock between these bacteria and acids and the surfaces of your teeth? Then, decay and cavities would be less likely to occur. Dental sealants are that roadblock. Applied as a liquid, sealants quickly harden, providing a solid layer of protection. At Alamo Springs Dental, we offer dental sealants in Helotes for all of our patients. And while they are more commonly recommended for children, they can also be helpful for moms and dads who are more susceptible to cavities.
How Beneficial are Dental Sealants?
Molars are by far the most vulnerable teeth to be affected by decay due to the many depressions and grooves inside them. This makes them incredibly susceptible to collecting bacteria and food debris, which both largely contribute to decay, especially in children. According to the American Dental Association, dental sealants have been shown to reduce the risk of decay in molars by 80 percent! In another report by the Centers for Disease Control on the importance of sealants for school-aged children, those without sealants have almost three times more cavities than children with sealants.
What are Dental Sealants Made From?
Dental sealants typically use composite resin, a very common material in dentistry. Other uses of composite resin include direct bonding and cosmetic veneers. Your dentist in Alamo Ranch as well as the American Dental Association states that they’re completely safe for children and adults alike.
When Should Children Get Dental Sealants?
Rather than providing a specific age, the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research recommends dental sealants for children as soon as their molars erupt. Of course, molars tend to erupt a year or so apart from each other, so regular visits to apply these newly erupting teeth should be considered.
For reference, the first permanent molars typically erupt around six years of age, followed by the first and second premolars which usually appear between 10 and 12 years of age. Finally, the second molars tend to erupt between 12 and 13 years of age, while the third molar or wisdom tooth erupts between 17 and 21 years of age.
Whether they’re primary or permanent teeth, their eruption immediately indicates their vulnerability to cavities and decay. According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, any teeth that contains deep pits or fissures is a candidate for dental sealants. Therefore, if their mouth is large enough to accommodate wisdom teeth, they can benefit from the use of dental sealants if their teeth are more susceptible to decay than normal.
Can Older Patients Receive Dental Sealants?
Most people associate dental sealants with children because they are the most popular demographic to receive them. However, that doesn’t mean fully-grown adults can not benefit from their use. All teeth are vulnerable to decay regardless of age, so it’s worth considering if you’re a parent who has a history of developing cavities even while practicing daily oral care. Sealants are particularly ideal if you’re an adult who already has fillings in your molars. This way, sealants will act as an extra layer of defense against tooth decay.
Dental Sealants and Insurance
Dental sealants are typically only covered by insurance plans if the patient receiving them is under 18 years of age. However, you should always double check with your dental plan beforehand to confirm as they are still considered a preventive treatment by most insurance companies.
Receiving Dental Sealants in Helotes
Once you and Dr. Aiyana Anderson or Dr. Michele Moreno decide that dental sealants are the right preventive measure for you or one of your children, the process is really quite simple and short. At the conclusion of one of your dental checkups when your teeth are clean, our dental hygienist will rinse the teeth with water and air-dry them. Then, a solution that is slightly acidic is applied to the surface of molars; dental sealants are rarely placed on incisors because they are not deeply grooved and pitted the way molars are. The solution makes the surface of teeth slightly rough so the bond between the dental sealant material and your teeth is stronger. After a few seconds, the acidic solution is washed away and your teeth are rinsed and dried again.
Now comes the fun part! The hygienist “paints” the liquid plastic on to your back teeth. Using a special curing light, the sealants are quickly dried and hardened. After about 30 minutes or so, you’ll be able to eat whatever you like. Dental sealants are extremely strong—they can endure the normal pressures of biting and chewing—and durable, lasting up to 10 years or more. When you return to Alamo Springs Dental for each scheduled dental checkup, Dr. Anderson or Dr. Moreno will assess the condition of your sealants and replace the ones that are missing or worn thin.
If you have the chance to prevent future tooth decay, either for your child or as an adult, Dr. Anderson and Dr. Moreno recommends you visit them for an oral exam. They’ll determine if early signs of decay are present and provide the best treatment they think will work for you or your child’s unique case. After all, receiving dental sealants in Alamo Ranch could mean the difference between having a healthy smile and needing restorative treatments later. Contact us today to get started!