Have you ever heard of dental sealants? These are protective coverings mainly made of plastic that are used to cover the chewing surface of teeth, especially the pre-molars and molars. The main purpose is to prevent tooth decay.
Sealants are simple to apply. A dentist will simply spread the sealant over the chewing surface of your tooth and he will allow it to harden. As it hardens, it will seal all the gaps and depressions on the surface of the tooth. This gives a smooth refined surface which is easy to brush and is protected from decay. They last several years, but still need re-application from time to time.
There are advantages and disadvantages of having dental sealants:
- Sealants are very useful in children, they prevent the decaying of their teeth since they do not know how to brush their teeth thoroughly yet. This reduces the pain of having constant cavities.
- The teeth are easier to clean after the procedure, because it gives a smoother surface. Children will especially enjoy brushing their teeth because the grooves and roughness on the chewing surface will no longer be there.
- The process is simple and pain-free. People are generally afraid of visiting the dentist, so it's encouraging for them to know that putting sealants is a pain-free process, and can be done quickly.
- The risk of having grooves and depressions in the teeth are minimized. There are also less tooth decays and less pain in the long run.
- There is a big saving of money in the long run. This is in term of making less trips to the dentist in future years, and also there is a saving where perhaps a more expensive procedure like a root canal would have been needed later if the child had not had a sealant put in.
- The initial payment can be expensive because the insurance companies do not easily justify the cost of putting sealants. As much as it is cheaper in the long-run, the initial payment is difficult to justify as some people see it as an unnecessary.
- Unfortunately sealants do not last a life time; they need to be re-done after every ten years. Also constant review needs to be done regularly.
- In cases where decay had already started when a sealant was put, the decay will be well hidden and it will continue to destroy the tooth, leading to worse damage. Sealants can not be put on teeth which have fillings.
- People generally hate visiting the dentist; therefore it's difficult to convince them to go to the dentist for a preventive procedure like this one. They would rather go when they have an urgent dental problem.
You can now make an informed decision as to whether you should get sealants applied on your teeth or those of your children. Whatever decision you make, you can still have good dental health.