Why Dental Sealants are Needed and Why They ROCK!
By Dr. Max Zaslavsky
So let’s talk dental sealants- what they are, and why there are important, and what benefits do they create to you the reader? So often my blogs are about prevention. I tend to not always talk about cosmetics or the fancy stuff (and I should!), but it’s simply because I feel that an ounce of prevention always takes precedence before we can move forward with some of the more vain things we all want in our lives.
A part of this blog post comes from a patient who recently said to me, “Why is dentistry so expensive?” Granted she wasn’t the first….or last patient who has said that to me; but for some reason it got me thinking. Prevention is cheap, dental work is expensive. Toothpaste and floss, when you break it down on a daily basis is relatively inexpensive (almost pennies a day). Sealants- a procedure done in office is also relatively inexpensive in comparison to a dental filling that would involve a needle, drill and usually are 3-4 times the cost.
A sealant is a protective layer, sort of like a saran wrap per se, that is placed into the grooves and pits of a tooth (usually a molar). Like I said, no drilling or needle is required. It’s short and easy. We simply need a semi-dry tooth where we can apply this protective gel in order to prevent cavities. This gel prevents foods, especially ones associated with sugars from getting into the grooves and fissures of the tooth thus creating a cavity. Generally speaking, we begin to do this for children who are growing their adult 6 years molars, but adults would benefit from sealants as well; since ANYONE, and I mean ANYONE can get a cavity.
In the beginning, the sealant may be felt by the tongue since it’s new. However over time, it will feel as natural as what Mother Nature gave you. Generally the sealants last 5-10 years, and are almost invisible to the naked eye. As the sealant wears down from chewing, the gel can be re-applied as easily as it was done the first time! Now these protective saran wrap coatings for the teeth should be used in conjunction with fluoride. In my office, we are big fans of combining fluoride with dental sealants as they create an environment for a healthy, decay free mouth.
Remember, a filling requires a drill, a needle and tends to need to be replaced every 10 years or so (and frankly, who wants to miss work for a dental treatment). Generally when we need to replace that initial filling, it then needs to be replaced with an even bigger filling, or even a crown. By being proactive, and preventing the cavity in the first place with a sealant, we can save that tooth from needing ANY dental treatment. Prevention will ALWAYS be cheaper than dental treatment. Let’s start the ball rolling from day one, and protect those teeth from decay for good!!
If you have any questions, call me at (954) 491-3544.