Dr. A. Gerald Michels has more than 40 years of dental experience, and is currently in practice at Hillcrest Family Dental Care in San Diego, California. According to him, sealants are an excellent way to protect back teeth and prevent against dental decay and cavities for people of all ages.
In my experience, having sealants placed on childrens teeth is a good way to keep them from accruing decay and preventing cavities. And it can also be a good option for some adult dental patients as well. Rather than waiting until bacteria has gotten into the tooth and a cavity has occurred, patients who go with dental sealants can have a liquid placed over the teeth that prevents that bacteria buildup from happening in the first place.
With a sealant, there is no drilling and there are no shots, which is why sealants are such a popular option for so many peopleincluding patients who have an extreme fear of the dentist or the dentists office. Instead of drilling into the teeth or cleaning them out with picks and other tools, sealants are put on with the use of a liquid solution that flows into the cracks and grooves on a patients teeth. They seep down into these grooves and seal them off so you wont get any cavities.
While sealants are usually thought of as a dental option for children, an increasing number of adults are asking for them now as well. Anyone who has grooves in his or her teeth that are deeper than normal would be a good candidate to have sealants put on to prevent cavities from occurring.
Usually, adults dont need this treatment because the natural grooves on teeth tend to become shallower as we age. However, in some adults, this change does not occur and the grooves remain the same depth even as time goes on. As people with this issue get older, the chance of bacteria getting into those grooves and causing decay only grows more and more likely.
Not a Permanent Solution
If you are getting sealants put on your teeth, then you need to understand that this is not a permanent solution, and the sealants will wear off over time. So you do need to come back in. At my family dentistry practice in San Diego, I usually recommend that patients who want dental sealants get them put back on once every five years. Although I have seen sealants that lasted upwards of 10 or 20 years, the sealants on most patients teeth will wear down or slough off after an average of five years.
Usually, I will bring the topic of dental sealants up with any of my family dentistry patients in San Diego if I notice especially deep grooves during a semi-annual exam. If I find grooves on adults that are still very deep, and maybe one or two of them is decayed, then I will recommend sealants on all of them. However, I also recommend that anyone who is curious about sealants bring up the topic with a dentist during a cleaning.
Once you or your dentist fails to bring up the option of having dental sealants placed on your teeth, the worst case scenario is that those teeth with deep grooves could sport increasing decay and cavities could grow. Not only that, but the decay could spread to other teeth in the mouth and cause even more trouble down the road.
The information in the article is not intended to substitute for the medical expertise and advice of your healthcare provider. We encourage you to discuss any decisions about treatment or care with an appropriate healthcare provider.
A. Gerald Michels is a writer for Yodle Dental Marketing, a business directory and online advertising company. Find a dentist or more related articles at Yodles Guide to Dentistry.