In addition to avoiding sugary foods and drinks, the most effective ways to keep cavities and tooth decay at bay are regular brushing and flossing and routine dental checkups and cleanings.
But if you’re a parent, you know that toothbrushes and dental floss in the hands of a child aren’t always as effective as they could be. Even the most diligent kids tend to miss hard-to-reach areas like the little grooves in those back molars.
Some adults have a hard time as well. Elderly folks and people with physical or mental disabilities may struggle with oral hygiene, too.
At OK Tooth in Midtown Manhattan, New York, our team of dental experts offers an effective solution for these challenges — sealants. Here, we take a closer look at how dental sealants work to help you decide if they’re right for you, your child, or your loved one.
How sealants help protect your teeth
You know that cavities begin when bacteria and plaque build up on the tooth’s surface and eat away at the protective enamel. That’s why brushing and flossing are so important. Without cleaning all tooth surfaces thoroughly, the missed spots are vulnerable to decay.
The struggle is real, but we can help. Our team at OK Tooth wants to partner with you to keep your teeth healthy for life. That’s why we offer sealants for anyone who needs a little extra protection, particularly pediatric patients.
Sealants are simply clear coatings that adhere to the surface of the teeth. They don’t cover the whole tooth, just the chewing surface, where the nooks and crannies tend to trap food particles, acids, and bacteria.
The process is quick and easy. We simply dry off the surface of the tooth, apply a gel to rough up the surface slightly, rinse it off, and apply the sealant. The coating hugs the grooves and peaks of the chewing surface, and we accelerate the bonding by shining a special blue light on it for a few minutes. That’s it.
Sealants are effective
Sealants last for several years, but they aren’t permanent. We monitor dental sealants at each checkup to make sure they’re still well bonded and doing their job. If you’re wondering whether sealants are worth it, take a look at some of these stats from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
- 90% of cavities occur in the back teeth
- Sealants prevent 80% of back-teeth cavities
- For the first two years, sealants prevent 80% of cavities
- Sealants prevent 50% of cavities during years three and four
Some dental insurance companies cover sealants, so be sure to check your policy to find out if sealants are included in your benefits.
Get an oral health advantage with sealants
While they’re no substitute for proper oral hygiene, sealants are a great way to avoid the pain, damage, and cost of cavities and fillings.
We’re here to complement your at-home efforts. Teaching your child how to brush and floss properly can be frustrating — we get it. But you don’t have to do it alone. We love to meet children around their first birthday and introduce them to a positive dental care experience. Sealants are just one of the tools we use to ensure a healthy smile.
To get your child started on the road to a great smile that will last a lifetime — or if you’re interested in sealants for yourself — schedule an appointment by calling us at 212-651-4121 or book your visit online at your convenience.