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  • Writer's picturelaurenepoole

Sealants: A Love/Hate Relationship

Sure, it might sound dramatic to have such strong feelings (fillings?) towards a simple preventative treatment. But we do, and here's why.




What is a dental sealant?


A sealant is a resin material painted over deep grooves or pits, typically of back teeth shortly after they erupt (think ages 6-16). The grooves and pits are checked thoroughly by your dentist, and if appropriate, can be cleaned and "sealed" to prevent bacteria to setting up a home in those hard-to-reach pits.


Love:


Some people have the curse of groovy teeth. Making it easier for bacteria to hide away in some hard-to-reach microscopic spaces. We love that sealants are clinically proven to reduce the risk of tooth decay in younger patients. When placed at the right time/place and with perfect technique - dental sealants can protect deep grooves in our dental anatomy from bacteria and acid that cause tooth decay. In certain patient’s who are at a higher risk of tooth decay, we absolutely recommend sealants as prevention. 

Hate:


 If not placed perfectly - at the right time/place and with the right techniques - sealants can actually CAUSE cavities. Worst case scenario, they have a slight risk of “loosening” over time and leaking bacteria under a sealant, which is a recipe for disaster. Meaning cavities start to grow and you're dentist won't find them until they're large enough to show up on an xray. We emphasize the benefit on younger people because the benefit significantly decreases the longer the tooth has been erupted or exposed to the intraoral environment. So we often do not recommend sealants for adults. 


Toxic?


Then there is the material. A lot of common dental sealants are made with BPA (bisphosphenol A) which is a known hormone disruptor. This is something that you should just ask your dental care provider about because there are BPA-free sealant options that are safer for you and your family. 


Like everything else, dental sealants are a personal choice and one that should be made after weighing all the pros + cons for you or your family member.

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