Sometimes when you come to the dentist we talk about putting seals on your teeth. No we are not talking about using the cute kind of seals that live in the ocean on your teeth so what exactly are we talking about??? What are dental seals? What are the benefits of using dental seals? Who should be getting dental seals?
What are dental seals?
Dental seals (or fissure seals) are like a filling except they are not used to fill holes in the teeth, they are used to fill the deep grooves in the tops of your teeth. If you have a look at your molars (back teeth) or even feel them you will notice that they have a groove along the middle of them. These grooves can trap food and also create the perfect place for bacteria to live in. The bottom of these grooves are very difficult to reach with a toothbrush and so we leave bacteria there which leads to dental decay.
What are the benefits of using dental seals?
Since we can't clean the bottom of these grooves in our molars, we need to protect this area from future dental decay. We clean out the area and then fill them with a liquid dental sealant that flows to the very bottom of these grooves. The dental seals smooth out the top of the tooth so that there are no areas for food or bacteria to be trapped and make the teeth easier to clean.
These dental seals can reduce the risk of future dental cavities by up to 80%.
Some people do not require dental seals at all, while others need only 1 or 2 and others benefit from having all of their molars treated. Another major benefit of dental seals is that you do not require any injections to have them done (unlike most fillings).
Who should be getting dental seals?
Children, teenagers benefit the most from dental seals as they are protecting brand new teeth from future decay but also adults can also benefit as they need to protect their teeth into the future. The best time to have dental seals applied is after the molar tooth has completely come through. For most people that is around 13 years old but dental seals can also be used on baby teeth to prevent cavities. Even if your teeth have not just come through, it is easy to see that dental seals can help protect them in the future, and so are an investment in preventing more expensive dental work in the future.
If you have noticed you have deep grooves in your molar teeth or think that you could benefit from dental seals please make an appointment for a checkup and we can discuss your individual needs.