Even when you are faithful with brushing and flossing the recommended number of times per day, you are still susceptible to cavities. One way to prevent the decay is to have your dentist apply sealants.
Dental sealants are plastic coatings that protect the surface of premolars, molars, and wisdom teeth from harmful bacteria and plaque build-up. Since the bacteria can not enter the grooves of your pearly whites, it can not cause any decay, creating a healthy mouth and a brighter smile over the course of a lifetime.
There is no need to fear a sealant procedure, as it does not hurt one bit. First, the hygienist will clean the teeth and then apply a gentle acid. The coating is painted onto each tooth in a liquid form. The dentist will then hold a light over the area, which will harden the liquid and cause bonding. You are free to eat immediately after the procedure. The entire application takes just a few minutes per tooth from start to finish.
Covered by Most Insurance Plans
Dental plans usually cover sealants. This is in part because the cost of having the coating applied to teeth is much less than the cost of having cavities filled later on. To be sure, call the number on your insurance card to verify that this procedure is covered before making the appointment. Anyone not insured can speak with a dentist about a possible payment plan.
Benefits for Children
Since children tend to have deeper pits and grooves in their teeth, sealants are especially beneficial. The doctor will keep an eye on the child's molars, and once they have fully erupted, he or she will suggest when the sealants need to be applied. This appointment is usually anytime between the age of six and 12.
Foods to Avoid
Although you are free to enjoy a meal following the procedure, there are a few foods to avoid. These foods include gummy bears, sticks of gum, and caramel. Anything sticky can harm the coating. If, however, the sealants begin to wear away, the dentist can always reapply them in a matter of minutes. When avoiding sticky foods, the plastic coating can remain intact for up to ten years.
Even with sealants, it is important for all individuals, whether young or old, to continue to get regular check-ups. When potential issues are spotted early on, they can be corrected before serious conditions develop.