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How Long Do Dental Sealants Last?

Dental sealants are a thin coating of resin that protects the chewing surfaces of the teeth from decay. But does something so simple last very long? At Lifetime Family Dental, we’re happy to answer any questions you have about dental sealants and the many other procedures we provide. Read on to learn more about how long sealants last, how they can protect your teeth, and how to take care of them. 

Who Can Get Dental Sealants?

Anyone whose teeth are free of cavities is eligible to get dental sealants. Children and young teens more commonly get dental sealants, because the baby teeth have thinner enamel and are more susceptible to tooth decay. Children are often less thorough with daily dental care and need the extra protection. 

However, adults can get dental sealants, too. To ensure that the procedure is effective, any existing issues must be treated before applying dental sealants. Keep in mind that dental sealants are not a replacement for brushing and flossing. They simply provide extra protection for the back teeth, which have grooves that can trap plaque, bacteria, and food particles. 

How Long Do Sealants Last?

According to the CDC, dental sealants can last up to nine years after being applied. However, they are most effective for the first few years after placement. Sealants wear down over time, and can fall off before wearing through completely. They protect teeth from 80% of cavities for the first two years, and 50% of cavities for around four years.

How Often Do You Need to Get Sealants on Teeth?

Children typically need to get sealants twice—once around the age of six, and again when their second molars grow in, typically around age twelve. Adults don’t need sealants as often, and only need to replace them if they wear down or fall out earlier than expected. Keeping up with regular dental visits will allow your dentist to monitor whether or not your sealants need to be reapplied. 

How Do You Take Care of Dental Sealants?

Although dental sealants naturally break down over time, it’s important to take care of them so that they last as long as possible. Some foods and drinks can wear down your sealants (as well as your tooth enamel) and so can teeth grinding. Here’s how to make your sealants last longer.

Avoid Certain Foods and Drinks

When wearing sealants, you or your child will need to limit your intake of certain foods and drinks or avoid them altogether, including: 

  • Gummies, toffee, caramel, and other sticky candies that tug at the sealants and could pull them off of teeth.
  • Hard candy and other hard foods that can damage the sealants by creating too much pressure when biting down. 
  • Acidic foods and drinks like citrus fruits, lemonade, and coffee can all make sealants wear down faster. 

Adjusting your diet isn’t just beneficial for your sealants, but also for the health of your teeth. Foods and drinks that are high in acidity and sugar also cause enamel erosion, increasing your risk of tooth decay and defeating the purpose of the sealants. 

Wear a Mouthguard for Bruxism 

If you suffer from bruxism (teeth grinding), then wearing a mouthguard at night can help your sealants last longer. The mouthguard will help prevent premature wear and tear on the sealants as well as damage to the teeth. If stress is causing your bruxism, managing it with exercise, yoga, or meditation can also help. 

Dental Sealants in Gilbert, Arizona

Whether you’re interested in protecting your child’s teeth or your own with dental sealants, Lifetime Family Dental can help. We provide sealants and many other preventative treatments for children and adults in the Gilbert area. We’re happy to answer all of your questions and discuss whether sealants are right for you or your child. Call us at 480-558-4331 today to make an appointment. 

Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (10/20/2022). Photo by Samuel Fyfe on Unsplash