Posterior teeth do not have flat surfaces, which is ideal because they are the teeth in the mouth that are responsible for chewing and crushing food. Dentists refer to these teeth as back molars. They also know that cleaning these molars is more difficult because of their design and location. Back molars are prone to trapping food in their pits and grooves. If the food particles are not thoroughly brushed away, bacteria may settle and cause bad breath and tooth decay.
Dental sealants are a viable option to protect molars and against tooth decay. Sealants are clear and undetectable. Dentists place them over molars, and they act as a barrier between the surfaces of the teeth and food. Trapped particles will rest on top of the sealants rather than making direct contact with the teeth. This eliminates the possibility of molars getting cavities. There are circumstances that make it ideal for certain individuals to get dental sealants. These individuals are considered a high-risk demographic. However, anyone who wants to protect their molars from tooth decay can benefit from dental sealants. The following points identify unique circumstances when sealants should be highly considered.
Physical or Cognitive Limitations
Individuals who have physical limitations that affect their arms or hands could benefit from getting dental sealants. Conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis may make it difficult to hold a toothbrush and floss thoroughly. Paralysis and amputations may also affect an individual's ability to thoroughly clean their back teeth. Cognitive limitations may exist due to age, injury, or conditions such as dementia, anxiety, or depression. These conditions may impact how an individual mentally processes oral hygiene. They may not thoroughly brush and floss or skip it altogether.
Lifestyle That Increases Tooth Decay Risks
There are individuals whose lifestyles increase their risk of getting tooth decay on their molars and premolars. Individuals who consume a lot of sugar or carbohydrates may have an oral microbiome that is full of bacteria that cause tooth decay. These bacteria may get trapped in the fissures of the molars and cause cavities. Sealants offer protection against this phenomenon. The use of tobacco products may also increase the risk.
Newly Erupted Permanent Teeth
Parents can use a dentist as a resource to understand the benefits of getting dental sealants for their children as soon as their permanent teeth erupt. Children may not brush effectively, which may lead to cavities. Since they are permanent teeth, cavities will be permanent if they form. The best defense against them is to opt for dental sealants at an early age to improve the chances of a lifetime of healthy teeth.
Reach out to a local dentist to learn more.