Good oral health is important at any age, and general dentists provide the services and tools necessary to help prevent many dental issues. One thing a dentist does is recommend sealants. These help prevent cavities and, although it is not a replacement for brushing and flossing, it is a preventative measure to help further protect the teeth.
Kids are the perfect candidates
General dentists recommend kids begin good dental habits from an early age. One of the reasons for this is the National Institute of Health reports that almost 50% of kids have at least one cavity by the age of 11. Good habits include brushing, flossing and visiting the dentist twice a year for checkups.
Because kids are at a higher risk of getting cavities, one preventative measure is to get a sealant applied to the back molars once the permanent teeth come in. This may happen anywhere between the ages of 5 and 14, approximately. While sealants are more commonly recommended at younger ages, teenagers and adults that are more susceptible to decay are also appropriate candidates.
Benefits of a sealant
A sealant is a good choice in a preventative dental program for a number of reasons.
Prevents tooth decay
Sealants are applied to the back teeth and provide a layer of protection from bacteria, food particles and plaque. Because these harmful components cannot cling to the teeth, this helps prevent decay and cavities.
Unlike the uncomfortable and invasive procedure it takes to fill a cavity, a sealant is easy and quick to apply. After a thorough teeth clean, the dentist paints a thin coat of the sealant onto the tooth enamel. The plastic is allowed to bond and harden, and the dentist may use a light to help speed up the process. The whole procedure is quick and free of pain.
The plastic used for sealants is typically white or clear, which makes them extremely hard to see except by the trained eye. A patient may be able to feel the smooth surface of a sealant with the tongue for a short time after the application, but this sensation will pass.
Sealants are typically less expensive than a filling, so it is a smart choice economically. As this barrier prevents future cavities, the overall cost for dental work is decreased as well.
When the recipient practices good hygiene, sealants can last for almost 10 years. General dentists should examine the sealants during biannual visits to ensure they are intact and to make any necessary repairs. Patients can extend the life of sealants by flossing and brushing at least twice a day and avoiding hard foods such as popcorn kernels, candy and ice.
General dentists are good sources for dental advice because they can recommend a variety of preventative tips. This includes endorsing oral sealants for kids and adults who are more susceptible to tooth decay due to eating habits, smoking, poor hygiene or other risk factors.
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