Dr. Vanama recommends that all children and some adults receive dental sealants to protect against cavities and tooth decay. Unfortunately, both of these problems are getting worse over time. According to the American Dental Association, three-quarters of all kids in the United States have tooth decay or have had cavities filled by the age of 19.
Perhaps you are wondering “What is a dental sealant?” You wouldn’t be the first person to ask this of the Discovery Dental staff. A dental sealant is a coating that goes on the back teeth to prevent bacteria from invading and turning into tooth decay. The reason Dr. Vanama places sealants on the furthest molars is that these teeth are difficult to reach and keep clean with a regular toothbrush. Even regular flossing may not be enough due to the awkward angle. Dental sealants are a fast and painless way to keep these teeth free of harmful bacteria. We typically start these treatments around age six.
How Dr. Vanama Applies Dental Sealants
Each tooth receiving a sealant must be perfectly clean so it remains affixed permanently. After cleaning is complete, Dr. Vanama places etching on the tooth that will hold the dental sealant in place. After exposing it to air for approximately one minute, she uses an air gun to dry it. The last step is placing the liquid sealant on the grooves and fissures of the back teeth and shining a curing light on them so the sealant hardens in place.
Dental sealants can last up to 10 years if the patient chooses a healthy diet and invests time each day in good oral hygiene habits. The American Dental Association reports that approximately 85 percent of patients have a reduction in cavities or tooth decay the first year after receiving a sealant. At the five-year mark, about half of all patients still benefit from having one. Some people choose to have a new dental sealant put in place at that time to keep their teeth as healthy as possible.
Dr. Vanama or any staff member at Discovery Dental in Issaquah, Washington would be happy to answer additional questions you have about dental sealants. Please contact our office with your inquiries or to schedule an appointment for a consultation.