Despite being preventable, tooth decay is the most prevalent oral health issue. Several advancements over the years have made it possible to protect teeth against cavity-causing bacteria, like improved oral hygiene habits and fluoride dental products. Unfortunately, cavities can still occur in anyone. Children are most often at risk, which is why dentists recommend applying dental sealants to their back teeth. The thin coating can prevent 80% of cavities over 2 years. With their proven success, it’s normal to wonder, can adults get dental sealants? Yes! You’re never too old to benefit from their protection.
A dental sealant is an in-office treatment used to safeguard cavity-prone areas of the teeth from decay. They are applied to the chewing surfaces of the molars where 90% of cavities occur. The sealant creates a protective shield over the enamel to decrease the potential for decay developing in the deep grooves and depressions.
Sealants are often used for young children because they lack the proper brushing and flossing methods to effectively clean the molars. Although children tend to be the most prone to decay, research shows adults aged 20 to 34 have more untreated cavities in their molars than any other age group.
About 25% of adults have at least one untreated cavity. While tooth decay doesn’t discriminate based on age, some adults have an increased risk. As a result, dental sealants for adults can preserve the enamel to combat risk factors that can’t be resolved through oral hygiene or dietary changes, like genetics. Based on your oral and lifestyle history, your dentist may recommend adding the protective power of dental sealants to your smile.
You don’t need to worry about a lengthy or painful process to protect your teeth. Dental sealants can be applied in a matter of minutes during your routine cleaning and checkup. After your teeth have been cleaned, a weak acid is applied to the molars to open the pores in the enamel. This allows the sealant to bond well with your teeth while also killing bacteria. The gel is rinsed off before the clear sealants are applied and hardened with a curing lamp.
In about 5 to 10 minutes per tooth, you will have an added layer of protection to keep cavity-causing bacteria at bay. It’s time well-spent to ensure your teeth serve you for a lifetime. Ask your dentist about the benefits of dental sealants during your next cleaning and checkup.