Are Dental Sealants Worth It For Adults?
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You bite into an apple, eager to enjoy its sweet, juicy goodness. The first thing you notice isn’t the fruit’s satisfying flavor, though. It’s pain from a cavity.

Most adults have developed one or more cavities in their lifetime, so you’re not alone. Dental fillings are common dental office treatments for cavities, but what if your dentist could help you stop cavities from forming in the first place? That’s where dental sealants come into play.

Dental sealants are preventative treatments designed to protect your rear teeth’s (molars’) biting surfaces. They’re often given to children, but can adults also get sealants on their teeth, too? Should adults get sealants? (Hint: Yes.) Let’s explore the ins and outs of dental sealants for adults in Norwalk, CA.

What Are Dental Sealants?

A dental sealant is a plastic material applied to the tops of a person’s back teeth to shield them from tooth decay, or cavities. Your teeth’s chewing surfaces feature grooves that can easily trap food, which can be hard to remove with a toothbrush. Food particles remaining in the grooves become your oral bacteria’s food source. Your mouth’s bacteria generate acids as they feed on the food, which can destroy your tooth enamel (the hard outer layer of each tooth), leading to decay.

A dentist can place dental sealants in your teeth’s grooves to prevent food from being caught in them. They’ll ensure the sealants’ surfaces are smooth so you can brush them easily.

Dental Sealants: How Do They Work?

A dental sealant begins as a liquid your dentist “paints” on your teeth to fill their grooves and keep food at bay. Your dentist then uses a curing light to harden the liquid, creating a clear, tough barrier against bacteria. The process is comfortable and fast.

Your dentist will examine, take x-rays of, and clean your teeth before applying sealants. The first step in adding a sealant to a tooth is adding a gel to the tooth to produce a subtle texture to which the sealant liquid can stick. The dentist will then apply the sealant material with a brush and dry it using their curing light. They’ll double-check your bite to ensure your teeth can function properly with the sealant when you chew. 

Expect your sealants to last for 5-10 years. Let’s examine whether adults should get sealants or if it’s best reserved for children.

What’s the Difference Between Getting a Sealant as an Adult Compared to a Child?

Sealants are primarily recommended for children at risk of having cavity problems. These include children with high-sugar and high-starch diets, as well as those with limited access to fluoridated water (fluoride is placed in water to help protect people’s teeth from cavities). Adults can also get sealants on their teeth if they’re worried about developing cavities. Here’s the difference between getting sealants as a child versus an adult.

Dental Sealants For Children

Your child’s pediatric dentist may suggest placing sealants on your little one’s baby pearly whites, but since these teeth are temporary, dentists typically recommend waiting until children’s permanent ones form to apply sealants. Giving your child sealants may save them from undergoing dental filling procedures and save you money, time, and energy. That’s because the sealants can protect their teeth from sugary snacks and help make up for their lack of coordination as they learn how to brush their teeth.

Dental Sealants For Adults

Can adults get sealants on their teeth, and should adults get sealants? Absolutely to both questions as mentioned earlier. Dental sealants for adults make sense for many individuals age 18 or older since dental decay can form at all ages. 

Adults might be less prone to developing cavities than children since they are often more conscientious about eating too much sugar and know how to brush and floss properly. They may still benefit from sealants if their teeth have many grooves, making them more susceptible to decay. You might also opt for sealants if you have a family history of cavities or have a bad habit of grinding your teeth, which may break down your enamel and increase your risk of decay.

Do you take medications? Hundreds of medicines prescribed to adults lead to dry mouth, which is prevalent in older individuals. This makes you more susceptible to cavities since your saliva cleans bacteria from your mouth. Aging may make your pearly whites more brittle, further boosting your chances of developing cavities.

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What Are the Pros of Dental Sealants For Adults?

Adults can and should get sealants on their teeth since their molars chew most of their food, increasing their likelihood of experiencing decay problems. Applying sealants is comfortable and fast, and these treatments are less expensive than fillings. (Sealants cost $30-$50 per tooth, while fillings cost $150-$350 each.) Dental sealants for adults are also safe, containing no hazardous industrial chemicals (e.g., the bisphenol-A found in some plastics).

What Are the Cons of Dental Sealants For Adults?

A major concern with dental sealants is that they may seal in tooth decay if a dentist doesn’t remove it, exacerbating your infection. This is why your dentist should clean your teeth and fill all cavities before applying sealants to your molars.

Another drawback of dental sealants for adults is that even though they’re less expensive than fillings, they still cost money and won’t hold up forever. Some patients don’t feel adults should get sealants if their dental insurance plans don’t cover them.

Are Dental Sealants Worth It For Adults?

You realize that adults can get sealants on their teeth, but you might still wonder if they’re worth it. Sealants may help you if you’re prone to tooth decay, but getting them might not make much sense if you already have several tooth fillings. Your dentist can evaluate your teeth and tell you whether dental sealants are suitable for you.

Schedule an Appointment For Dental Sealants For Adults At Alondra Dental Care

At Alondra Dental Care, we offer a wide range of preventative (e.g., teeth cleanings), restorative (e.g., dentures), and cosmetic dentistry (e.g., teeth whitening) services. We’d be glad to examine your teeth and advise you on whether to get sealants. Schedule an appointment today!

About Dr. Abad

Dr. Abad founded Alondra Dental Care with the goal of providing superior dental care through attentive service and state-of-the-art technology. For over 20 years, Dr. Abad has been putting patients first at every step of their dental treatment. When she's not in the office, Dr. Abad can be found in her garden or out giving back to the community. As a member of the American Dental Association, California Dental Association, American Association of Clear Aligners, and Harbor Dental Society, Dr. Abad enjoys educating others on the importance of quality dental health and regular dental exams.