01 Sep Dental Sealants: Protect Your Teeth From Decay
Being diligent with a daily brushing and flossing routine is the best way to care for teeth to remove food particles and bacteria that may lead to tooth decay. Even with daily dental care, it can be difficult to get into all the little nooks and depressions in the back teeth. For youth, teenagers, and adults with no major cavities, a dental sealant can serve as an extra step in preventing premolars and molars from developing decay. What is a dental sealant and how does it work?
What are Molars?
Molars are located in the rear of the mouth. They are the widest and strongest of teeth specifically designed for grinding and chewing foods. As a result, molars tend to have a rougher surface with deeper crevices in the center of the tooth. These deep yet tiny depressions can house food particles and bacteria that a toothbrush or water flosser cannot reach. Once lodged, these particles create acid which causes cavities by eating away enamel. Applying a dental sealant prevents bacteria from getting into the tooth, protecting the tooth from damage.
What is a Dental Sealant?
Dental sealant is not a well-known procedure, yet it has been around since 1960. Dental sealant is a thin plastic coating applied to the chewing surface of teeth with a focus on premolars and back molars. Think of a dental sealant as an umbrella, repelling bacteria-causing particles from getting stuck in the small nooks of our teeth. Applied to teeth before decay occurs, dental sealants prevent long-term repair costs such as fillings, crowns, and bridges.
How is Dental Sealant Applied?
Dental sealant is a quick and painless process applied by your dentist.
- Teeth are cleaned and flossed.
- Each tooth is dried to remove moisture.
- A mild acidic solution is applied to slightly roughen the teeth. This process ensures the bonding of the sealant to each tooth.
- Teeth are rinsed again and dried.
- Sealant is applied using a small brush.
In most cases, a cure light is used to speed the process. Dental sealants dry clear and are unnoticeable.
Children ages 6 to 14 are more prone to cavities during this age and dental sealants provide an extra level of protection. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control recommends sealant during this age to reduce the risk of decay. Sealants are also appropriate for teenagers and adults with teeth that have not received fillings. Once a tooth has received a filling for dental decay, a sealant cannot be applied.
How Long Do Dental Sealants Last?
Dental sealants will last for about 10 years, but this does not replace regular dental care. Food particles can still lodge in and between teeth, in the gums, and under the tongue. Continue with twice-daily brushing, visit your dentist twice per year for cleanings, and include an oral cancer screening during one of these appointments.
We are proud you have chosen our Sugar Land family dentistry office as your provider for your dental services. Contact us today at (281) 265-3567 to determine if a dental sealant is right for you and your family, or schedule an appointment online.
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