List of Pros and Cons of Dental Sealants

Having beautiful and healthy teeth and gums is of utmost importance when it comes to our overall health. We are all taught from a young age how to brush our teeth properly but even with years of doing everything you can sometimes a cavity can sneak up on you. This goes double for you children and teenagers who may not see their dental hygiene as a necessity for health.

Dental sealants are a great alternative for those who can’t quite take care of every tooth or reach every spot. Grooves and ridges in your molars make it especially difficult to get in the hard to reach spots with a normal tooth brush. These sealants are act as a cover for your tooth to protect food from being ground into them and sticking.

Most sealants are a small coat of plastic placed into the grooves, and are usually placed on back molars. Depending on the person or parent of the child, sealants can be a valuable asset to dental health, or they can be a disaster. Below is a list of Pros and Cons to help make the choice of whether they are right for you or not.

What Are the Pros of Dental Sealants?

Quick And Painless
Sealants are quick to apply and require no surgery or drilling in the mouth. They offer a no pain guarantee which can be a plus if being applied to small child’s mouth or someone who doesn’t handle pain well.

Sealants can prevent cavities by creating a barrier in which sugar and bacteria cannot get to the tooth. The Sealant is effective immediately after being applied to a clean tooth as long as it is done properly. Some dentist will even state it protects 60% of the time for several years.

Any Type Of Tooth
Sealants can also be applied to a smooth tooth or a rough tooth with lots of grooves. It can coat a smooth tooth but for a rough one it can actually soften the sharp edges of a rough tooth for years to come.  Bacteria and sugar thrive in grooves because it’s a hard to clean area and can get trapped causing cavities.

Because a sealant can prevent cavities it in turn can save a lot of money down the road. Cavities can lead to fillings, caps, root canals and in severe cases extraction of the tooth which can rack of a dental bill quickly.

Long Lasting Protection
Sealants on average last between three to five years. During your office visit, a dentist can also check the sealant and make sure its still in place and if not can re apply if needed quickly.

What Are the Cons of Dental Sealants?

Insurance Problems
Sealants are considered a proactive approach to dental hygiene and may not be covered with your current insurance. Some insurances will state that this is an unnecessary expense and keeping your teeth clean is a choice. Although you may see sealants as a cheaper alternative to other dental work in the event of a cavity, sealants could actually be more expensive.

BPA is a chemical found in plastics and can be an ingredient  in your sealant. BPA has been linked to heart problems, cancer and many other heart problems. There has been no research to support BPA caused health problems from sealants, but scientists are still researching the effects.

Hides The Problem
Instead of developing or teaching good hygiene habits parents and adults will take the easy way out and ask for sealants. This does not create a solution to the underlying problem but instead masks it. Especially for teenagers, they can develop the “I have sealants so I don’t need to brush my teeth” idea. Which we all know bacteria does not just grow on teeth, it can thrive in your gums and in your entire mouth causing gum disease and in some cases cancer.

Not Viable
In some mouths, sealants may not even be an option. If there is already and existing problem of tooth decay, you would still need to have proper dental work done including fillings to remove the cavity causing the decay. Sealants do not work on problems and are only used as a proactive tool.

Undetected Decay
if a sealant is not done properly and by a knowledgeable dentist, bacteria can get underneath the plastic coating and become trapped causing rotted teeth. Decay is also very difficult to detect after sealants have been placed. Decay can spread to surrounding teeth before even being detected causing a massive problem and lots of money trying to save the teeth.

Again if a sealant is done improperly or not coated correctly decay can occur. When this occurs a dentist will not only have to remove the sealant but while doing so will need to remove part of the tooth as well. Since the sealant becomes a hard coat around the tooth it can make it impossible to remove without altering the structure of the tooth itself.

The best advice any dentist will give you is to take care of your teeth with good oral hygiene. Dental work should only be used if necessary and only if your hygiene habits have failed. This article is to not persuade you, it is simply  laying out the good and bad of dental sealants.  Dentist will tell you over and over again, it’s better to save the tooth then have to have them all replaced. The choice is yours.