Your back teeth, i.e. your molars or pre-molars, have a flat surface with a groove in the middle. That groove can (and usually does) develop fissures: micro-pores that are sometimes finer than a single hair of a toothbrush. Over time, these fissures can become a breeding place for bacteria, caries (tooth decay) and eventual nerve damage – especially in children and teens who don’t always have the best dental habits.
If your child has naturally weak tooth enamel, bruxism (teeth grinding), or any other condition that can turn that groove into a deep fissure, it may be best for them to get sealants: resinous or non-toxic plastic coatings that are applied to molars and pre-molars to protect them.
Reasons to Get Sealants
Sealants have been widely used since the 70s, and studies have conclusively shown that they’re an effective way to prevent tooth decay. Before we had sealants, the molar and pre-molar grooves were the first places you’d usually get a tooth filling – and as a result, a metal or porcelain filling is usually what doubled up as an “adult sealant”.
Today, it’s possible to avoid getting fillings in the first place by using a sealant. The grooves in our back teeth tend to be deep, and are often impossible to clean thoroughly – so it makes sense.
The fissures also contribute nothing to your tooth functions, whether we’re talking about chewing, talking or singing. This means that there’s no real reason not to get sealants. They’re research-proven to be effective, they’re inexpensive, they work – what’s not to like?
How are Sealants Applied?
Sealants usually last years, protecting your teeth for a long time. At the same time, they only take minutes to apply – and here’s why.
Unlike “hard” coatings - dentures, crowns and onlays - all of which need to be pre-made in a dental laboratory, sealants start out as a paste or liquid. This paste or liquid fills up the grooves (or fractures) on top of your back teeth, and is hardened with a special U.V. light. (There are also options that require no light).
This entire process requires no preparation from the dentist’s side, and allows you to return to your regular life in as little as 30 minutes (depending on the material used). You don’t have to get a mold of your teeth taken; you don’t have to wait for your coating to come back from the lab; all you need to do is come in, sit for a bit, then walk out with a set of caries-proof teeth.
Aren’t Sealants Just for Kids?
Sealants are most often used by children because adults who don’t have them tend to get fillings and other “hard” sealant alternatives if their fractures are unprotected. However, if you managed to make it to adulthood without getting any sealant work done as a kid, it’s not too late to protect your teeth now!
To get started, simply dial us up at (781) 277-3120, and we’ll be glad to give you a free consultation and/or quote depending on your individual needs.