Dental sealants have protected the premolars and molars of children since the 1960s. During that time, numerous studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of dental sealants in regards to cavity prevention. Since a full set of healthy teeth is vital to a child's jawbone and facial development, dentists recommend sealing primary teeth as early as possible.
Adults Can Benefit from Dental Sealants Too
Despite the fact that they were originally intended for children, dentists are beginning to recommend dental sealants to adults. In the past, dental professionals did not see the benefits in using dental sealants on adult teeth. It has become clear, however, that dental sealants can help to prolong the life of secondary premolars and molars, in other words, adult teeth.
Of course, not every case is the same. Only in certain situations can an adult molar benefit from an application of dental sealant.
Sealants Protect Adult Molars With Deep Grooves
If during an oral examination, a dentist notices that an adult patient has especially deep molar grooves, they may recommend dental sealant. Dental sealant is a plastic substance that dentists paint onto molars, then harden with a specially designed light source. Once hardened, the sealant mixture will prevent food debris and bacteria from clogging the grooves in a molar.
As a result, those molars will be less prone to dental cavities, at least in the cavity prone areas where the grooves are situated.
High Risk Molars Are Candidates for Dental Sealants
Another case that could require the intervention of dental sealants is when an adult patient only has one or two remaining molars that are cavity free. The rest of the molars will have been filled and so will not be compatible with dental sealants. The dentist may decide that the remaining cavity-free molars are high risk for dental decay and so apply dental sealants to them.
Doing this will ensure that those sealed teeth remain healthy for longer, without the need for dental fillings. A dentist may also recommend dental sealants if they suspect that a patient might be at risk of tooth decay in future.
Dental Sealants Save Money and Teeth
A good dentist can actually help to conserve a patient's teeth by applying dental sealants. Since dentists need to drill away decay before filling a tooth, the more fillings a tooth has, the weaker it will get. A dental sealant placed at the right time then can prolong or prevent this outcome. Subsequently, that patient will also spend less money on dental treatments.
If your family dentist offers you dental sealants, don't refuse. The future of your teeth and finances depends on it.