Are Dental Sealants Right For You?

family dentist in SW Portland
As a family dentist in SW Portland, Oregon, Dr. Kim Hoang and her team at Terwilliger Dental knows that preventing cavities and tooth decay is crucial to maintaining good oral health. Fortunately, they have many tools in their belt to do this, including the use of dental sealants. Sealants are an easy, painless way to reduce your risk of cavities. In this post, we’ll explore what dental sealants are, who should get them and how the application process works.

Dental Sealants Explained

A thin clear or white coating that’s brushed on the chewing surfaces of your back teeth (aka premolars and molars), dental sealants are a very effective way to prevent tooth decay and cavities. That’s because the sealant bonds with your tooth enamel, creating a protective barrier that blocks out harmful, cavity-causing bacteria. Sealants are made from medical-grade materials: resin (plant or synthetic) and glass ionomers.

Are You a Dental Sealant Candidate?

While children and teenagers are the most common candidates for dental sealants (this is because their teeth are smaller, and the enamel are still developing) adults can also benefit from sealants, especially if they have deep grooves in their teeth and are at high risk for cavities. A cavity-free tooth is stronger and healthier than a tooth with a filling or untreated decay. Sealants are more cost effective than fillings because they are cheaper and easier to apply.

The Application Process

The sealant application process only takes a few minutes and is easy and painless. The steps are as follows:
  • First, we thoroughly clean and dry the affected teeth.
  • Next, we’ll use a liquid solution on the chewing surfaces of the teeth to roughen them up so that the sealant bonds to the teeth.
  • Once your teeth are rinsed and dried, we’ll paint the sealant onto the enamel, where it bonds directly to the tooth and hardens.
  • In the last step, we will use a special curing light to help the sealant harden.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), research shows that once the sealant is applied it will protect your teeth against 80% of cavities for roughly two years. After that, it’ll protect against 50% of cavities for up to four years.
Your Dentist in Portland
While sealants can protect your teeth from decay for many years, it’s important to note that they are not a replacement for routine dental care, including brushing, flossing and professional cleanings. You will still need to visit Dr. Hoang every six months for regular dental check-ups.
For more information or to schedule an appointment at our SW Portland dental office, contact us at Terwilliger Dental today!