At some point in your dental care, chances are, your dentist may have recommended a dental sealant to help you guard against cavities. A sealant is a protective dental material that is placed on the biting surfaces of molar and premolar teeth.
Dental sealants are used on adult teeth where there are deep pits and grooves, but on the whole, it's largely offered for children whose adult molars and premolars have completely erupted. However, you don't need to be concerned whether there are dental sealant dangers. Sealants are safe to use on your teeth, but you may want to consider some pros and cons of when to have them applied.
When Do Dentists Recommend Dental Sealants?
Sealants are recommended for patients, from kids to adults, whose molars, premolars and even baby teeth show signs of wear or crevices that are hard to clean and that may lead to a higher risk of cavities. Generally speaking, sealants are a common addition to long-term oral care regardless of the amount of wear on your back teeth's enamel. While fluoride is one way to prevent tooth decay, sealants add another layer of protection and can help you avoid more costly procedures, like crowns or fillings. The application process is painless and easy and one that can be performed in a dentist's chair, says the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, children ages 6 to 11 without sealants are three times more likely to develop cavities in their first molar teeth than children with sealants.
When You Should Wait on Sealant
Before your dentist or dental hygienist can move forward with sealants for you or your kids, you'll want to make sure no significant problems exist.
You should also know that sealants do contain a small amount of bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical that's present in plastics. Many parents avoid products with BPA because it has been linked to health problems in children and infants, says the Mayo Clinic. However, the Food and Drug Administration and the American Dental Association (ADA) report that the amount of BPA in a dental sealant is so low - that it is not harmful. Though a small amount of exposure occurs for a few hours after placement, current evidence shows there are no dental sealant dangers from this low-level exposure, says the ADA.
The only downside to using sealant is whether you might have an allergy to it. The good news is reactions related to dental sealants are extremely rare. The Journal of Clinical & Diagnostic Research reports only one case where asthma and hives occurred after a sealant was placed, but subsided after it was removed. As always, it's best to talk to your dentist about any allergies and follow the recommendations of your dentist before moving forward with the treatment.
Finally, a dental sealant can last a long time, up to 10 years, and the procedure is, many times, covered under dental insurance. After the initial treatment, your dentist will check for chips or cracking during regular checkups and the sealant material can be cleaned off of the tooth surface and be re-applied.
Sealant Is Not a Substitute for Daily Oral Care
Sealant is an additional preventative protectant dental material, not a final solution, to tooth decay. You should continue to use products which have advanced-cleaning silica to keep your mouth feeling clean and your smile healthy.