Does Dental Sealant Protection Outweigh Potential Risks?

Does Dental Sealant Protection Outweigh Potential Risks?

Dr. Jonathan Garger and the oral healthcare professionals at Gentle Family Dentistry, located near you in Bakersfield, California, want to educate their patients, new and current, on the benefits of dental sealants.

Introduction

Teaching children good and consistent oral hygiene habits is always good, but the best way to prevent cavities in children is the application of dental sealants. A sealant is a thin coating painted on pre-molars, molars and wisdom teeth to protect them from decay. The procedure is painless, non-invasive and covered by most dental plans.

What the Research Shows

It is estimated that 43% of children ages 6-11 have dental sealants, and children from low-income families are 20% less likely to have them. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has reported that applying sealants in school-based programs for low-income families would save nearly $300 million in dental treatment costs.

The CDC has also reported that sealants prevent 80% of cavities for 2 years after application, and up to 50% of cavities after 4 years.

The Skinny on Sealants

However, sealants need to be monitored and maintained as they can wear and chip. The replacement of a sealant involves the drilling down or the scaling of excess material before a new coat is applied.

There is some concern about the exposure of the environment to bisphenol A (BPA) contained in the sealant. Studies show that the salivary BPA levels peak within 3 hours after the procedure and return to base line levels by the next day. Any concerns about BPA exposure do not outweigh the amount of chemicals contained in the dental materials used to treat tooth decay.

Long-Term Benefits

If the application of the sealant is perfect, then the sealant should last for the life of the tooth. Realistically, though, sealants need to be replaced.

Children and young adults at the ages of 6, 12 and 18, the ages when pre-molars, molars and wisdom teeth erupt from the gums, should get sealants applied. Primary teeth can be sealed, but the child needs to be able to tolerate the procedure. This means the child needs to be able to keep their mouth open and sit still for a few minutes.

The benefits of dental sealants outweigh the risks.

Dr. Garger and the team of oral healthcare specialists at Gentle Family Dentistry, located near you in Bakersfield, California, are trusted and highly recommended on the application of dental sealants, general dentistry procedures and cosmetic specialties.

Please contact Gentle Family Dentistry today where new patients are always welcome.