What Are Dental Sealants and How Long Do They Last?

What Are Dental Sealants and How Long Do They Last?

Practicing good oral hygiene daily can provide you with benefits long into the future. Yet, cavities and additional dental issues can still occur, so finding proactive measures you can take in addition to brushing and flossing will be beneficial. One such beneficial measure is dental sealants, which can lower your risk, keep teeth healthier, and help you retain a confident smile.

What are Dental Sealants?

Dental sealants are an option provided by your dentist and are available for both adults and children. They are thin coatings applied directly to the chewing surfaces of your teeth for the purpose of covering, shielding, and protecting these areas from invading germs and from the foods you eat on a regular basis.

Your dentist will commonly recommend dental sealants for the back molars, which have distinct fissures and grooves that can allow for bacteria to accumulate and eventually lead to decay. Brushing and flossing can reach and remove much of any remaining food residue and bacteria-causing plaque, but it is essentially impossible to always reach it all. With a dental sealant shielding the surface of a tooth, however, there will be less risk of bacteria accumulating and resulting in problematic cavities for you or your child.

The procedure for dental sealants is quick, simple, and pain-free, and it doesn’t require major changes to teeth surfaces. After a thorough cleaning, your dental team will add a gel to roughen the surface slightly so the sealant will more easily stick.

A quick rinse and drying follows before the use of a fine brush to paint the sealant across the chewing surfaces of the teeth. This sealant will seep into the deeper grooves of each one. Your dentist may use a specialized lamp to hasten the hardening of the sealant, and within minutes, the barrier or shielding is in place.

What are the Benefits of Dental Sealants?

Dental sealants are beneficial to both children and adults. A child’s teeth are protected as they learn good oral hygiene habits as well as later on. Adults will benefit by increasing their chances of keeping natural teeth longer.

Specific benefits of dental sealants for everyone in your family include the following.

  • Dental sealants are not noticeable to you or anyone else. The application may appear white, clear, or slightly tinted upon application but will not be noticeable when speaking or smiling. You may initially feel a difference when your tongue skims along the surface of the teeth, but that soon disappears, and you will more than likely forget they are even in place.
  • Dental sealants help with cavity prevention. The added protective layer on your teeth disrupts bacteria’s ability to stay on the surface of a tooth and cause damage. Children provided with dental sealants early on will be protected during those crucial years when cavities can occur the most.
  • Dental sealants can lessen the need for excessive dental appointments and expenses. By taking the proactive approach to dental care, you can eliminate the need for excessive dental appointments for you and your children. It will also limit the number of dental procedures to undergo in order to maintain a healthy mouth, as well as the expenses that go along with each one. If you suffer from dental anxiety, this can be an added bonus, allowing you to limit the number of times you must sit in a dentist’s chair.

How Long Do Dental Sealants Usually Last?

While the application of dental sealants is quick and easy, you may be wondering just how long they can last. On average, you can expect your dental sealants to last somewhere between five and ten years and possibly longer with proper care.

Eventually, dental sealants will need some level of repair or reapplication, but when this occurs will depend on each individual case. To help ensure dental sealants last as long as possible, there are certain actions you can take. These include:

  • Continuing to practice good oral hygiene, brushing twice a day with a toothbrush that is soft bristled and flossing gently but diligently.
  • Avoiding hard or sticky foods which can damage the sealant.
  • Scheduling regular dental exams and cleanings, where your dentist is able to inspect the sealants and make sure they are intact and able to function properly.

Find Out How Dental Sealants Can Help You or Your Child by Contacting South Dayton Smiles Today!

When it comes to protecting your smile and limiting the risk of cavity formation, dental sealants can play an important role. Our dedicated team here at South Dayton Smiles provides preventive care for you and your entire family and will answer any questions you may have. Contact our office to schedule an appointment or consultation and start proactively protecting your teeth today.