Today, Dr. Russ and I saw something very impressive in a 26 year old patient. We saw several mostly intact dental sealants. “Wow” we said, “these sealants are probably 20 years old and these teeth are still decay free and healthy. This patient had protection on her teeth that prevented bacteria from contacting her enamel and starting a cavity.
We know that children aren’t always the greatest brushers and flossers, so we can give them an edge against getting cavities by applying dental sealants to their permanent molars. A dental sealant is a clear or opaque plastic coating that we apply in the Dental Hygiene chair to the chewing surface of molars. These surfaces generally have deep depressions and grooves that can accumulate food and bacteria. A toothbrush bristle cannot reach into these very deep grooves. After cleaning the tooth very well and preparing it for the dental sealant, the material is floated over the top of the tooth and set with a light to become a solid smooth surface. The process is easy and painless and the benefit can last many years.
Dental sealants are checked at each recare appointment and reapplied if needed. Along with a healthy diet, brushing, flossing and fluoride, sealants can help keep kids cavity free for a lifetime. Wouldn’t that be nice?
Joyce McFarland RDH