What are Sealants?
Dental sealants are an affordable, effective way to prevent cavities or tooth decay from affecting the teeth. Sealants prevent around 80% of cavities in the back teeth, where the majority of cavities and decay occur.
How Do Sealants Work?
Dental sealants work like raincoats for your teeth. They provide a protective coating where cavities are most likely to occur and can last years after application.
Cavities are formed when damaging acids come into contact with the tooth enamel. The longer these acids and debris sit on the teeth, the more damage it causes. Good oral hygiene can help prevent cavities, but it isn’t always enough alone. That is where dental sealants come in.
Can Sealants Be Applied Over Cavities?
Our professionals at Northwest Portland Dental recommend you have any cavities filled before having sealants applied. However, sealants can be applied over areas of earlier tooth decay. In this situation, the dental sealant will protect the decayed tooth from further damage, essentially stopping the problem from spreading.
Does Dental Insurance Cover Sealants?
Some dental insurance companies in Portland do cover sealants, generally up to one application per year. However, not all insurance companies offer this coverage. Whenever you aren’t sure if your insurance covers a procedure, it’s best to call and ask ahead of time.
Who Can Receive Dental Sealants?
Most adults and children with permanent teeth can receive dental sealants. Our dental team at Northwest Portland Dental recommends sealants for children when their first permanent molars come in. You can give your children a head start at cavity prevention by sealing the molars in as soon as they come through the gums.
Cleanings Come First
Our dental team will professionally clean your teeth before applying sealants. Cleaning usually involves scraping plaque and tartar buildup from around your gum line and between your teeth. Then, a gritty toothpaste and powerful electric toothbrush polish your teeth. The dentist may also conduct a physical examination of the teeth, gums, mouth, and jaw before (or after) cleaning.
Acidic Gel Primes the Teeth
Once the teeth are clean, an acidic gel is applied to the teeth and left briefly. This gel helps to roughen the surface of the teeth so the sealant bonds are better. The gel shouldn’t hurt or be uncomfortable. When finished, the gel will be cleaned from your teeth. Then, the teeth will be dried.
Sealant Is Applied
After our dentist has dried your teeth, they’ll apply the sealant to the groves of your back teeth. These are the areas where cavities are most likely to occur because they’re the most difficult to reach during regular brushing.
Sealant Is Hardened
Our dentist at Northwest Portland Dental will use a special blue light to harden the sealant once it’s applied. Hardening doesn’t take long. Once finished, you can resume normal eating and drinking shortly after. The sealant will need evaluation at least once or twice a year to see if they’re still intact. However, a sealant application can last years without needing reapplication.
Dental Sealants Can Prevent Cavities
Cavities affect many people and are most common in the back teeth. Dental sealants can help prevent cavities and decay for months at a time.
Find Out if Dental Sealants Are Right for You
Contact Northwest Portland Dental today to see if dental sealants are right for your teeth.