You put protection around your windows and doors to seal out cold air in the winter. You put lubrication on your engine to protect it from damage and seal out rust. Did you know that you can also have a simple material applied to your teeth to help seal out decay and damage?
Dental sealants are a preventative dental treatment that are used to protect the back teeth from cavities and decay. Commonly used on children’s smiles, this protective measure is actually a treatment that can benefit patients of all ages. Dental sealants are a plastic coating that is applied to the pre-molars and molars to help “seal out” harmful substances. These back teeth have a very rough surface, made up of ridges, grooves, and pits. While these rough surfaces are necessary for eating and chewing foods, they are notorious for trapping food particles, bacteria, and acids – leaving them to harm the teeth throughout the day. As particles and acid-producing bacteria linger in these deep grooves in the back teeth, they begin to decompose and react putting the teeth in danger of damage. Cavities are created by the oral bacteria reacting with food particles and creating acids to break these particles down. When food is trapped in the grooves of the back teeth, they are constantly assaulted and put at risk.
Dental sealants are a pain-free treatment that can do wonders for protecting the back teeth. A liquid plastic coating is painted on the pre-molars and molars after a thorough dental cleaning. Once applied, the sealants are hardened with a special curing light so that they bond with the tooth enamel. Dental sealants can last up to four years, offering a great barrier of protection. It is important to avoid chewing sticky candy (such as Jolly Ranchers) in order to avoid pulling the dental sealants away from the teeth. Your dentist will check to make sure your sealants are still in place at each visit to ensure that they are providing you with proper protection.
Dental sealants are not meant to be a substitute for flossing, brushing, or regular dental visits. Your oral health care routine is extremely important to your smile. However, dental sealants do offer an added measure of protection that can keep your back teeth free from decay. Contact Riverheart Family Dentistry today to learn more about dental sealants and how they can protect your family’s smiles.