Dental sealants in adulthood: worth it?
August 9, 2021 9:18 PM   Subscribe

YANMDentist. But you have been offered prophylactic dental sealants, as an adult. If you took them up on the offer: how'd it go? If you declined: any regrets?

About me: mid-twenties. Dentist has offered an optional treatment more commonly given to children, which involves having sealants placed on several of my back teeth, not because of any current problem, but to prevent future decay. Is this a smart move, or a waste of time and money? The cost involved would be significant. (It's also difficult to predict how long they last; they say it varies based on the person.)
posted by queen anne's remorse to Health & Fitness (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I found sealants worth the extra cost but I insist on written warranties from dentists.
posted by parmanparman at 9:54 PM on August 9, 2021 [3 favorites]

Best answer: IANYD but if you've reached your mid-twenties without caries on those surfaces you are statistically unlikely to get them unless something changes dramatically.
posted by OHenryPacey at 11:00 PM on August 9, 2021 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I seem to be really prone to cavities and I was offered these to seal up deep grooves in my teeth, which had the potential to get cavities due to food sitting there.

I did get them done. I was getting enough cavities that it was plausible that I would get them there too, and the cost of the sealant was less than the equivalent number of fillings.

I am happy with the decision.
posted by kinddieserzeit at 1:29 AM on August 10, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: When I was in my mid-20s a dentist suggested I get prophylactic dental sealants because I have deep grooves in my molars. If I didn't do it, said he, I would be setting myself up for a life of caries and cavities and general dental chaos.

OP, I didn't do it. My rationale was that I had decent teeth and good dental hygiene habits. I'm now in my 50s and my teeth are great/unremarkable. Nothing happened. Maybe the dentist wanted to buy a new boat, and needed a way to augment his income.
posted by lulu68 at 2:39 AM on August 10, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I had the exact same experience as lulu68. Dentist pushed sealants on me in my early 20s due to "deep grooves," I declined, and at 38 my teeth are still fine.
posted by saladin at 5:05 AM on August 10, 2021

Best answer: I ask to get them on teeth that have deep grooves and are hard to keep clean. One tooth in particular got extra scrutiny from the dentist at a regular checkup, so I asked for a sealant now instead of getting a cavity later. Note that I am prone to cavities and I asked for them. They haven't been that expensive, definitely cheaper than fillings.
posted by Ms Vegetable at 5:05 AM on August 10, 2021

Best answer: I regret the sealants I got in childhood because the one cavity I’m ever had formed underneath one, which is apparently a risk if they are not placed perfectly.

Also, this is hard for a lay person to research, but sealants involve exposure to BPA (or at least used to). Of course, white fillings do, too, so you have to evaluate your own risk.
posted by Comet Bug at 7:09 AM on August 10, 2021

Best answer: There is a huge variation in how cavity-prone people are, even given otherwise excellent dental care. I wouldn't get them unless I had a history of cavities. I did get one in a deep groove, but have since devoted more attention back there and have not had any since.
posted by wnissen at 9:51 AM on August 10, 2021

Best answer: Yes!!! I get my sealants redone whenever needed, which is maybe every ten years. I'm almost 38 and still cavity-free!
posted by smorgasbord at 7:27 PM on August 13, 2021

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