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Seal out cavities

Sealants for Summer

What is a sealant? 

A sealant is a tooth-colored material that is placed on the biting surface of “virgin” molar (back) teeth. “Virgin,” meaning there are no cavities or fillings already on the tooth. The material is flowable enough to go into the nooks and crannies of the tooth to provide a protective barrier against bacteria that can cause cavities.

Why do I need them? 

Sealants offer another layer of defense against bacteria that cause cavities. Once cavities form, you’ll need part of that tooth removed and replaced with a filling. Large cavities can turn into bigger more expensive dental work like crowns or even extracting of the tooth. Sealants are great preventive procedures since they are usually inexpensive, quick, painless, and you don’t need to be numb. 

Who should get them? 

While mostly kids and teens get them, anyone who has molar teeth that do not have any cavities or fillings on those teeth can get sealants.  

How long do they last? 

Sealants usually last from 5-10 years but can last longer. Sealants are more effective at protecting against cavities in the first few years. Like crowns or fillings, sealants will last longer the easier you are on your teeth. We suggest staying away from high sugar diets and not chewing on ice or other sharp things as that can break down the sealant over time or break the sealant completely. While they can last a long time, nothing will replace good oral hygiene-brushing after every meal and flossing at least once a day.  

Can I still get cavities if I get a sealant? 

It's possible. While they are a simple way to help protect against cavities, sealants won’t protect your teeth against decay 100%. In the first few years, sealants offer about 80-85% protectiveness against cavities. After about 3 or 4 years, this goes down to about 50%. When you see your dentist, they can check the health of the sealants and “re-seal” them, extending the life of your sealant. 

Again, brushing and flossing, a healthy low-sugar diet, limiting your snacking, and seeing your dentist for cleanings at least twice a year will be the best recipe for preventing cavities. Add in sealants and you’ve got a great chance at preventing tooth decay. 

In my experience, people who get sealants on their back teeth will have a much better chance of little or no problems with these teeth in the future. It’s one of the best preventive procedures dentistry has to offer. I highly recommend them to all my patients, especially my younger ones!   

About the author: Dr. Mark Davis is owner of Perfect Smile Tulsa. Over the years, Dr. Davis has received continuing education on the latest innovations in cosmetic dentistry, sedation dentistry, full mouth reconstruction, advanced endodontics and periodontics, Botox®, and more. He uses the latest technology and dental techniques.

For Tulsa City Lifestyle magazine readers for the month of August only, we’re offering a ‘Buy 2, get 1 Sealant for Free’ special. Now is the time to get your little ones in to protect those teeth before the hustle and bustle of fall. 

To schedule an appointment call Perfect Smile Tulsa at 918.770.0870 or visit perfectsmiletulsa.com.

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