All About Sealants

At any dentist’s office, you hear all about a number of different procedures done on teeth. Some of the more common ones include fillings and sealants. You probably first heard the word “sealant” in the dentist’s chair when you were a kid, but probably didn’t fully understand what it meant. Here is a quick review of everything you need to know about them!

Sealants can offer an additional level of protection for your teeth. A great “safety net” for those hard to reach areas when brushing, sealants provide peace of mind for any patient. While there is no suitable alternative to brushing and flossing, sealants are great for anyone who might be inconsistent with their brushing, especially children and teens.

What is a sealant? Think of it as a raincoat for your teeth! It’s a thin, plastic coating placed on the chewing surfaces of teeth—usually molars—to prevent tooth decay. The coating quickly bonds into the depressions and grooves of the tooth, forming a protective shield over the enamel of each tooth. Sealants have been shown to reduce decay by up to 80%! And studies have shown that children without sealants have almost three times more cavities than those with sealants.

Here’s what to expect if you or a family member has an appointment to get a sealant:

  1. The tooth getting the sealant will be cleaned and dried.
  2. An acidic gel is then placed on the tooth to “roughen up” the surface, creating a strong bond between tooth and sealant. After just a few seconds, the gel is rinsed off and the tooth is dried again.
  3. Then, the sealant is applied to the grooves of the tooth.
  4. In the final step, a special curing light is used to harden the sealant.

And that’s it! This can be done on multiple teeth during one appointment and the entire process can take anywhere between 5 to 45 minutes, depending on the number of teeth being sealed. Once teeth are sealed, the sealant can last up to 10 years. They are checked during regular visits and your dentist will let you know if it is time for a reapplication.

Even if cavities are present, sealants can still offer numerous benefits. Most sealants are clear, so if you do get one placed on a tooth with a cavity, your dentist can continue to keep an eye on it to make sure the cavity isn’t getting larger and the sealant is doing its job.

Who should be getting sealants? They are really for everyone! However, the earlier you get them, the better. It is generally recommended that molars are sealed as soon as they appear to keep them cavity-free. This would mean sealing the first molars around age 6 and the second around age 12. Sealants have been around since the 1960s, but if you didn’t get them as a child, it isn’t too late! There’s still time to protect your teeth. Just talk with Dr. Brunacini or Dr. Karagiorgos about them during your next visit.

You’ll never guess what we want to give you for Christmas…

At FDA we love this time of year. Celebrating with friends and family, festive decorations, cooking and eating traditional recipes, and of course, exchanging gifts.

Our gift to you is the something that we are certain you would never expect from us…CANDY! Yes, candy. But not just any candy…

Researchers are developing a new candy that is actually GOOD for your oral health!

Now, we understand that you are probably thinking one of three things:

  1. Healthy candy? Yea right…that is way too good to be true.
  2. Any healthy candy has got to taste absolutely disgusting.
  3. This is some sick Christmas joke.

However, we are not joking, this candy is in fact REAL and we are telling the TRUTH!! Simply put, an ingredient in the candy has proven to reduce levels of bad, cavity-causing bacteria in mouths. Also, sugar-free candy such as this one actually stimulates saliva production which is good for oral health.

Let’s explain this a little further…

Our mouths are comprised of a delicate balance of good and bad bacteria. When we clean our teeth, the aim is to get rid of cavity-causing bacteria while allowing good bacteria to thrive.

Now, researchers have developed this sugar-free candy. The research team, led by Christine Lang, believes that this good bacteria in the candy binds with the harmful bacteria in the mouth and prevents it from reattaching to the teeth. Without the ability to latch onto teeth, saliva washes the bad bacteria away and potential for developing cavities declines. Seems to make sense, right?

Lang and her team used 60 subjects in their initial trial. Twenty subjects ate candy with 1mg of good bacteria, another twenty subjects ate candy with 2mg of good bacteria, and the remaining twenty subjects ate candy that tasted similar, but contained no good bacteria (the control group).

In total, each subject ate five candies during the course of the 1.5-day experiment. They were not allowed to perform any oral hygiene activities during this time, and they were also not allowed to consume coffee, tea, wine or probiotic foods.

Results showed that nearly 75% of the participants who ate candies with the good bacteria had “significantly lower” levels of bad bacteria in their saliva than before, compared with the control group. Additionally, the subjects who ate candy with 2 mg of good bacteria had a reduction in bad bacteria levels after eating only one piece of candy.

So, we are telling you the truth! Sugar-free candy that actually benefits your mouth and potentially reduces risk of cavities may not be far away.

Merry Christmas to all!!