To maintain healthy teeth, it is recommended that you brush at least twice a day and floss once a day. Even if you follow these recommendations, however, there are some areas that are more difficult to clean thoroughly. One of these areas is the surfaces of your back molars. These areas contain deep crevices that can trap food particles and bacteria that can lead to decay and cavities, even if you brush and floss every day. At Our Dentist, we can help you to prevent cavities, protecting the health of your mouth, with sealants.
What is a Cavity?
A cavity is what forms as a result of untreated tooth decay. Decay is caused by acid erosion on the surfaces of your teeth. Plaque and bacteria that build up in your mouth produce acids that can eat away at your tooth enamel, causing it to become weak. A small pit, or cavity, begins to form. Without treatment, cavities only continue to grow larger. As they grow bigger, they can compromise the structural integrity of the affected tooth and put it at risk for serious infection.
Sealants are a preventive treatment designed to help protect the surfaces of your back molars from the accumulation of bacteria and food debris. They are a synthetic treatment made up of plastic that is applied to the surfaces of your molars to cover over the crevices in the teeth. With a flatter surface, the molars are also made easier to brush completely, allowing you to more effectively prevent the formation of decay and cavities.
How are Sealants Placed?
The process for getting sealants is very quick and easy. It is also completely painless. First, the teeth are thoroughly cleaned to eliminate any buildup hiding in the crevices of the molars. Acid etch applied to the surfaces of the molars, which creates a rough texture. This texture aids in enhancing the bond between the sealant material and your teeth. The acid is then washed off and your teeth dried. The sealant material is applied to the molars, and they are cured using a special light. Once cured, sealants provide your teeth with immediate protection.
Who Gets Sealants?
Sealants are commonly associated with children. Children do tend to be more prone to cavities so that they can benefit from this additional preventative measure. However, sealants can be used for anyone, regardless of your age. We can help you to determine if sealants are the right treatment for you.
The Lifespan of Sealants
Even though sealants are made from plastic, they are fairly strong and can stand up to a significant amount of use. If they do happen to get damaged, they can easily be replaced.
While sealants help to protect the chewing surfaces of your molars, they are only able to protect the areas over which they are applied. Cavities can form on other surfaces of your teeth, including around the edges of the sealants, which can decrease their effectiveness. To protect every surface of your teeth, and ensure the effectiveness of your sealants, it is important that you continue to maintain good oral hygiene practices. This includes brushing, flossing, and regular dental visits.
When combined with good oral hygiene practices, sealants can help to protect your teeth from decay and cavities. For more information, and to find out if sealants are right for you, call Our Dentist at (413) 217-4455 today.