Every day brushing and regular flossing are the best ways to help prevent cavities, but it’s not always easy to get to every little crevice in your teeth – especially those back teeth you use to chew your food which is where leftover food and bacteria hide.
There is another way to help keep those teeth clean. It’s called a sealant, and it is a thin, protective coating that adheres to the chewing surface of your back teeth. Having sealants applied doesn’t mean you quit brushing and flossing, there is no substitute for taking care of your teeth daily, but having sealants applied even after early decay starts to form can prevent full-blown cavities.
In fact, sealants have been shown to reduce the risk of decay by nearly 80% in molars. This is especially important when it comes to your child’s teeth and overall health.
Questions about sealants? Keep reading to learn more about sealing out tooth decay!You may have many questions about sealants, and we have answers for you below. Read on to learn more about sealing out tooth decay.
How Do Sealants Work?
Think of them as raincoats for your teeth. When the cavity-causing bacteria that is in everyone’s mouth combine with left-over food particles, they create acids that can create small holes in your teeth. These holes are better known as cavities. After sealant has been applied it keeps those small bits of leftover food out and stops bacteria and acid from settling on your teeth—just like a raincoat keeps you clean and dry during a storm.
Who Can Get Sealants?
Both children and adults can benefit from sealants. However, the earlier you get them, the better. Your first set of molars come in around age 6, and your secondary molars come in around age 12. Sealing these teeth right when they come in can keep them cavity-free, which helps save time, money and pain in the long run.
How Are Sealants Applied?
Quick and easy! Dr. Bicknell and her staff will clean and dry your tooth before placing a gel on your teeth. This gel roughs up your tooth surface so the sealant can form a strong bond with your teeth. After a few seconds, we will rinse off the gel and dry your teeth once again before applying the sealant onto the grooves of your teeth. Then we use a special blue light to harden the sealant.
How important are sealants?
Tooth pain is one of the biggest reasons young kids struggle in school. If your teeth hurt it is hard to pay attention and learn to read, write, count or as you get older focus on pre-algebra and Shakespeare. Dr. Bicknell feels so strongly about this that nearly 20 years ago she started a dental sealant program with her Rotary Club that to date has provided more than $3,000,000 worth of dental sealants to qualifying students in GPISD.
Most every Friday during the school year, Dr. Bicknell and her team of volunteers work with students and staff at every GPISD elementary and middle school to help keep kids in the classroom by applying dental sealants to students teeth.