We’ve all seen those space action movies where there’s an epic battle between spaceships. The tiny one-person fighters are zipping around the planet chasing each other while the two behemoth ships launch lasers and missiles at each other. Inevitably, at some point in the fight, we’ll see the captain of one of those ships on the bridge taking fire. Everything is sparking around him, there are red lights and sirens everywhere, and one of his officers frantically tells him, “Sir! They took down our shields!”
This type of battle is basically what happens in your mouth every day, just without the special effects. No, seriously! Your teeth are like that giant ship taking fire from acids and bacteria in your mouth. And, just like that spaceship, your dentist can give your teeth shields to help fight off against cavities. Except, in dental terms, they call it a sealant (but, it’s pretty much the same as a space shield…)
What are Dental Sealants?
You want your teeth to be as healthy as possible. That’s why you brush and floss daily—to give your teeth an upper hand in that epic battle against decay. Sometimes, though, it can be hard to clean those teeth that are way back in the corner of your mouth (called molars). Even worse, molars have lots of edges, nooks, and crannies designed for chewing. All those little pockets give bacteria a perfect hiding place from your toothbrush.
While brushing and flossing are always your primary weapons, dentists can use sealants on those hard to reach teeth that cover them with a special coating. Bacteria and acids that do damage to your teeth have a much harder time getting through the sealant and can’t stick around in those hidden places on the chewing surface. In fact, the Center for Disease Controlsays that molars with dental sealants are three times less likely to get cavities.
Lastly, not only are sealants made from special plastics that are safe for nearly everyone, they are often clear or white colored, so they look completely natural.
When and How are they Applied?
The younger you are when you get sealants, the better, so you can protect your teeth when they are as new and undamaged as possible. Sealants on kids can often keep them from ever developing cavities in the first place. However, even adults can benefit from getting their molars sealed.
Applying a sealant is a quick and painless process where the dentist cleans your teeth before applying a special gel that binds your teeth to the sealant. After that, when you go in for your regular checkups, your dentist will make sure the sealant is still in place and can re-apply it if it wears off. No bacteria are getting past those shields!
Iowa Pediatric Dental Center has everything you need to keep your teeth healthy and your smiles bright. Make an appointment with us today to find out more about how dental sealants can protect your teeth for years to come.