Despite proper brushing and flossing techniques, children and adults can still run the risk of tooth decay. Fortunately, dental sealants provide a quick, minimally invasive solution to this, as well as prevention. Dental sealants are a specialty of Dr. Marc Lazare, DDS, MAGD, who offers such treatments at his Upper Eastside Manhattan practice in NYC.
Consult with the team of Dr. Lazare today to see if you need dental sealants right away.
Are Dental Sealants Necessary?
Dental sealants are necessary for anyone trying to preserve their teeth, especially hard teeth going through constant wear and tear. Many adults and children have such deep grooves in their teeth that the bristles of the toothbrush can’t reach into them and clean out the food and plaque.
As this debris sits there, the acids and bacteria in the mouth continue to break down this food and make the enamel more porous and more likely to develop a cavity. Sealants fill in these pits and grooves so the brush can do its job more easily.
Dr. Lazare will periodically check to make sure that the sealants are still intact and serving their purpose. Reapplying the sealants will ensure that the tooth is protected against decay, and will save the expense of having a more involved restoration on that tooth in the future should cavities develop.
How Sealants Work
Dental sealants are typically made of resin and colored to match a patient’s teeth, then applied so that it binds to the surface of the back teeth.
This material fills the pits and grooves on the chewing surface to protect the teeth from further decay, as well as makes it easier to clean the teeth by eliminating cracks that plaque and other bacteria would hide in.
First, the teeth are cleaned and double-checked for debris or decay. If there is extensive decay, then any decay must be removed from the teeth, cleaned out, and either filled with the sealant or stopped with tooth filling if the pit is too deep into the enamel.
When the teeth are filled and clean, a weak acid solution (etchant) roughs up the sealant, and the material adheres to the chewing surface with the help of primer and adhesive.
A special light on a specific wavelength hardens the sealant material and makes it solid, ensuring it will last for a few years.
What is the Best Age for Dental Sealants?
Sealants are typically applied only on the molars, as those teeth endure the most frequent wear and should be sealed as soon as possible to greatly reduce cavities.
Dentists like Dr. Lazare typically recommend getting dental sealants between 11-14 years of age. However, anytime after the teeth have erupted and completely grown out of the gums is ideal, as the idea is to seal and lockout any possibility of decay before it has a chance to latch on and start corroding the teeth.
And there is no shame getting dental sealants as an adult, as it is always good to get treatment later rather than never.
Dental Sealants for Kids in NYC
Children are the best candidates for dental sealants, as they don’t lose baby molars until 12 years old and should have protection for both the baby teeth on the top and the developing adult teeth below.
Adolescents should also consider dental sealants, as they are at risk for cavities due to poor diets and unpredictable lifestyles brought on with school and social life.
The sealants will cover any cracks that regular brushing and flossing can’t clean, and keep out bacteria and possible infections.
FAQs about Dental Sealants
Dental sealants are tooth-colored or clear shaded resin (plastic) material that gets applied and bonds to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth to fill in the pits and grooves of the teeth making them easier to clean (by making the grooves more shallow and smooth) and creates a barrier that makes them less likely to develop tooth decay.
Both Children and Adults are candidates for dental sealants. Since children don’t lose their baby molars until the age of twelve, it is important to protect these teeth from developing cavities and problems that can affect the developing adult teeth. Adolescents are very prone to developing cavities due to their dietary habits and poor home care, and the sealants can help to prevent decay in the grooves of the teeth that usually get passed over during a quick brushing. Any adult can benefit from sealants as well, making it easier for cleaning out the food and plaque, and giving them an extra line of defense in the battle against tooth decay.
Each sealant only takes a few minutes to place. First, the teeth are cleaned well and checked to make sure that no decay is present. If there are any signs of decay in those grooves, then they must be cleaned out and filled with the sealant material or a filling material if deeper. Once the chewing surfaces are cleaned, they are roughened up with an etchant (weak acid solution), and a primer and adhesive to enable the sealant material to bond to the tooth enamel. The sealant material is hardened by a light source, operating at a certain wavelength, to set the material and make it solid.
Depending on what type of material was applied, what types of food are being eaten (harder, crunchier foods can wear them down faster), and how good the home care is, sealants can last several years before they may need to be reapplied.
On average, a dental sealant procedure without insurance can cost between $35-$60 per tooth needing sealant. Cleaning the teeth may not be lumped in with the total price, the process costing between $50-$135 without insurance. There are different payment options available, however, and sealants are considered an overall affordable measure for oral hygiene.
Book Your Dental Sealants Appointment in NYC With Us
Dental sealants are an expedient and effective process to not only improve but preserve the health of your teeth.
Contact the Upper East Side New York, NY office of Dr. Lazare at 212-861-2599.