Dental sealants are an excellent way to protect a person’s teeth from bad bacteria that can lead to cavities. Sealants are most often applied to molars and premolars – those teeth that are most susceptible to decay. Typically comprised of a plastic resin material, a dental sealant bonds to the surface of the tooth, acting as a barrier against bacteria and preventing plaque from building up and eventually leading to the formation of cavities.

The procedure involved in applying a dental sealant is simple and fast. The first step involves thoroughly cleaning the teeth that will be coated with the sealant. After that, the dentist will use an acid solution to slightly roughen up the surface of the teeth, which helps the sealant to adhere better to the surface. As the final step, the sealant is painted onto each tooth surface and a curing light is used to help the material to harden quickly. Even the most anxious dental patient will find this procedure to be easy and painless. Even better news: the sealant material is extremely durable and typically lasts for many years (up to 10 years, in fact) before it has to be reapplied.

While it’s true that young children and teens are usually more prone to developing cavities than adults, anyone at any age can experience tooth decay. Although it’s obvious that younger patients can benefit from the protective nature of a dental sealant, adults can benefit as well – particularly those that may be genetically more predisposed than others to developing cavities.

Of course, sealants are no replacement for good oral hygiene habits and regular trips to the dentist. You should brush at least twice a day and floss at least once a day to maintain good oral health. Most dental patients need to visit the dentist twice a year for regular exams and cleanings. But if you are more prone to developing cavities or gum disease, you may need to visit the dentist more frequently.

Dental sealants can help to prevent cavities no matter what age you are. If you would like your child or teenager to experience fewer cavities and enjoy better overall oral health, sealants can help. Adults who are sick and tired of repeatedly getting cavities – and the expense involved in having them repaired – can often find relief thanks to dental sealants. If you believe that you may benefit from a dental sealant, talk to your dentist.