Every parent knows the struggle of trying to teach their kids good dental hygiene. So, when you hear about dental sealants, it seems like the answer to a prayer. A quick, painless way of protecting teeth from cavities, what more could you ask for? Unfortunately, it’s not quite as simple as that.
As with most things in life, there are advantages and disadvantages, so in this article, we’ll talk about teeth sealant pros and cons. But, before we do that, we’ll give a quick answer to two other important questions: what are dental sealant, and are dental sealants safe?
Dental sealants are basically liquid resin. This is like a clear, plastic paint which the dentist paints onto the teeth, filling in the tiny holes and crevasses. It then dries and hardens, forming a shield against plaque and food fragments, which cause decay.
As dental sealants are plastic, the issue of BPA (bisphenol-A) exposure is often raised as a safety concern. BPA is a chemical compound found in polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins, and exposure to large amounts of it can be harmful.
The research by The American Dental Association has shown that the amount of BPA in sealants is well below the acceptable safety limits and does not pose a threat to health. So, yes, they are safe. Now to the main question, sealants for teeth pros and cons.
Help prevent cavities
By filling in cracks and crevices in the teeth which can collect plaque and food particles, sealants considerably lower the risk of tooth decay and cavities.
The procedure for applying dental sealants is quick and painless, simply brushing the teeth with a liquid resin. If you or your children suffer from dental anxiety, you can understand what a benefit this is.
Unlike most other orthodontic appliances, dental sealants are practically invisible once in. Just a thin film of clear plastic over the teeth.
Since having sealants applied is a preventative, and therefore elective, procedure, most health care plans won’t cover it. However, it can be well worth the money if you or your child’s teeth are prone to decay, as a one-time application will save you the cost of multiple filling.
Seal in decay
If the sealant is applied to a tooth that is already starting to decay, it will only make matters worse. The process of decay will not be halted, but you probably won’t notice any of the symptoms, such as sensitivity, until the damage is so great that the tooth is unsaveable.
Sealants will wear down, crack, and chip away over time. If food particles get stuck in these cracks, decay can set in very quickly and again, probably won’t be noticed until it is too late to do anything except extracting the tooth. This is why you should continue to have regular dental check-ups even after you have sealants applied.
Encourage bad oral hygiene
People, especially teenagers, tend to forget that sealants are an aid to, not a replacement for good oral hygiene, and neglect to brush and take care of their teeth once the sealants are in.
As you can see, while sealants are definitely useful, they are not the ultimate solution to caring for teeth that they might first appear. Sealants are appropriate for people with teeth that are prone to decay or have deep fissures that could lead to problems. Otherwise, it’s best just to brush and floss regularly.
If you think that you or your child could benefit from this procedure, book an appointment now! We’ll give you an expert examination to determine your suitability and answer any questions you may have.