Would Your Teeth Benefit From a Dental Sealant?

Dental sealants are often discussed in relation to children's teeth. Tooth decay is an unwelcome development at any age, but permanent teeth can be restored or replaced in ways that are impractical or unavailable for children's teeth, such as with dental crowns or implants. Despite their benefits in terms of a child's teeth, some adults should consider talking to their dentist about whether sealants will offer their own teeth some extra protection.

Simple and Painless

A dental sealant is one of the simplest protective measures offered by general dentistry. The sealant material is a type of composite resin and is quite similar to the materials a dentist uses to fill cavities. Very little preparation is required, and a dentist simply paints the sealant onto the teeth in question. The process is painless with immediate results. But would you benefit from the process?

Dental Irregularities

There are some people (both adults and children) who are clearly candidates for dental sealants. Those with pronounced pits and fissures on the biting surfaces of their teeth (particularly their molars) may find it difficult to exhaustively dislodge food debris from these pits and fissures. A sealant literally seals the surfaces of these teeth, creating a new surface that is more responsive to your cleaning efforts. Some congenital conditions can also make sealants a wise idea.

Dental Enamel Defects

Anyone with enamel hypoplasia should consider dental sealants. Enamel hypoplasia is a condition in which your dental enamel (the hard substance that coats your teeth) fails to develop properly. The condition occurs while your teeth are still developing (during infancy), so it's not as though you could have prevented the problem. Dental enamel might be thin, patchy, or largely absent. Enamel hypoplasia can be present in some or all teeth. A sealant can act as a type of substitute enamel, making teeth less vulnerable to decay.

Prone to Cavities

While physical irregularities of the teeth, along with certain congenital conditions can make dental sealants a worthwhile form of protection, anyone who regularly experiences cavities (or even tooth sensitivity) should consider talking to their dentist about the procedure. The application of a sealant is very straightforward, and it's not particularly expensive. While your dentist will give their own recommendation as to whether a sealant is necessary in your specific case, it's not as though there's much to lose by trying out the method.

Dental sealants are not permanent and regular wear and tear will erode the resin. Given the ease of the procedure, a dentist can simply reapply the sealant as needed, and this can be integrated into your regular checkups.