Dental sealants not only benefit children - they benefit adults, too. If you're looking for additional ways to protect your teeth against cavities, sealants provide a barrier that helps keep out decay-causing bacteria. If you're more prone to cavities, whether due to deep crevices in your molars or the lack of saliva caused by medications or disease, sealants help keep damaging oral bacteria at bay.
Keep Oral Bacteria Out
Weakened enamel can lead to tooth sensitivity or decay. Even if you brush and floss your teeth daily, due to years of wear and tear, tooth enamel thins as you grow older, leaving your teeth more prone to decay. The application of dental sealants provides effective protection against cavities by protecting weak enamel from bacteria and plaque that attack the enamel and cause decay.
The teeth sealants benefit back molars the most, regardless of age, because the back molars aren't as easy to clean as your front teeth. Food particles get stuck in the grooves and crevices on the surface of molars, giving oral bacteria a great place to harbor. The application of sealants make the rough surfaces of your back molars smoother, leaving them easier to brush and keep clean.
Provide a Protective Coating
Dental sealants are essentially a coating material that bonds with teeth, and the application of dental sealants is a painless, easy procedure that takes little time yet protects your teeth for years to come. It takes only minutes for your dentist to apply the thin, plastic coating on the chewing surfaces of teeth.
Since the procedure doesn't take long, dentists can often apply a sealant during a regular dental checkup. Routine dental exams allow your dentist to check on the condition of previous sealants and reapply them as they wear off.
Stop a Cavity From Getting Worse
Your dentist can apply sealants over an existing cavity he or she catches early to keep it from getting bigger. Although sealants are intended to stop cavities before they start, they can also keep small cavities from getting worse.
A cavity in its earliest stage may be hard to notice, but if you don't treat it, decay can eventually reach the inner layers of a tooth and cause more serious problems. While pain isn't a symptom of a cavity just starting, a white spot is a sign that the tooth enamel has lost minerals. An unpleasant taste in your mouth may be another early sign of decay.
If you notice signs of a cavity, talk with your dentist about sealants.
Help Protect General Health
Sealants can also contribute to your overall good health. Cavities and other oral health problems caused by tooth decay can lead to medical issues that affect other parts of your body. Bacteria that get into the bloodstream from your mouth can cause inflammation and infection wherever it travels.
Along with the potential for tooth decay, the buildup of dental plaque can lead to gum disease and increase your risk of heart disease, blood clots, and stroke. If you have diabetes, bacterial plaque can cause your blood sugar levels to rise, making the disease harder to manage.
So by helping to prevent cavities, sealants also help to prevent the resulting damage of cavities.
Make a Good Investment
Last but not least, sealants can save you money you might have to spend in the future. Their cost is less than the cost of treating cavities, especially if you don't have dental insurance. While some dental plans cover the cost of sealants, not all do.
The average cost of paying for dental sealants out of pocket ranges between $35 and $60 per tooth. This is cheaper than paying a dentist to fill a cavity that develops. Depending on whether your dentist places a metal or composite resin filling to repair tooth decay, the filling can cost you from $75 to $300.
For more information on the benefits of dental sealants for adults, the staff of Gregg Dentistry is happy to help you understand how the application of sealants at any age can protect your teeth. Contact us today.