Dental sealants provide a highly effective treatment for the prevention of cavities. They are noninvasive, which means an easy, pain-free procedure, and minimal in cost. So who exactly can benefit from them?
Dental sealants are thin plastic films placed on tooth surfaces. They cover the pits and grooves of the molars and premolars. These areas are particularly at risk for developing cavities because they are hard to reach and therefore difficult to keep clean. Sealants create a barrier to protect the teeth surfaces from plaque and debris that can cause cavities.
Sealants are most commonly recommended for adolescent patients as soon as the permanent molars have fully erupted. On occasion, they can also be recommended for placement on baby teeth. In general, anyone who has deep pits and grooves in their teeth can benefit from dental sealants, so it is not uncommon for adults to get the treatment done on teeth that are free of any fillings or decay. After all, the cost of a dental sealant (prevention) outweighs the cost of a cavity.
Your dentist will evaluate your dental history as well as current oral health during a general exam. If he or she feels that you may be at risk for developing cavities (maybe due to a history of cavities) dental sealants may be recommended. You can also request them (for yourself and/or your family) if you feel you need the extra protection; your dentist will let you know whether it is appropriate for you.