Your teeth are not perfectly flat, smooth objects in your mouth. They are full of little crevices and grooves. Your back teeth (particularly your molars) have many of these ridges. These ridges in your teeth, unfortunately, are a welcome mat for cavity-causing bacteria. Because germs can become trapped in these grooves, your back teeth are especially vulnerable to tooth decay. We here at Palani Center for Dental Implants like to use dental sealants to help close off access to these crevices on the surfaces of your teeth, which can help prevent cavities from forming.
How Do Sealants Help Prevent Cavities?
While proper brushing and flossing your teeth can go a long way in helping to prevent tooth decay, the ridges and grooves in your teeth make it very difficult for you to properly remove any of the bacteria that could get stuck in them. Even with a good oral hygiene regimen, these germs could linger, and cavities could start to develop inside these grooves. By placing dental sealants over these crevices, we are preventing bacteria from becoming trapped in these ridges. By blocking the bacteria and denying them access to these ridges, we can help stop the formation of cavities before they start.
How are Sealants Applied?
Dental sealants are a type of durable resin material that is placed directly upon the surface of your tooth. We will start by cleaning your teeth carefully to make sure no bacteria remain on the site. We will also examine your teeth to make sure there is no tooth decay already present. If there is, we will need to address it before applying the dental sealant.
Once your tooth is ready for the sealant, we will place a specific type of acid onto your tooth. This acid helps to etch the tooth, allowing for proper placement of the sealant. This acid will only remain on your teeth for just a few seconds before we remove it. We will then apply the sealant to your tooth, then cure it with a special type of ultraviolet light. The entire procedure is very fast and does not cause any discomfort for the patient.
How Long Will My Sealants Last?
If you take good care of your teeth, your sealants can last you many years. While it does vary from patient to patient, you can reasonably expect your sealant to last up to ten years. Some patients may require more frequent applications of sealant, however. During your checkups with us, we will also check your sealants to make sure they are holding up properly. Normal wear and tear can cause them to erode faster. If we find that your dental sealants are gradually starting to wear away, we may advise a reapplication of the dental sealant to your teeth.
Dental sealants are not just for children! Many people think this treatment is only for our younger patients, but patients of any ages could benefit from them. If you would like to learn more about sealants, or you are interested in scheduling an appointment with us here at Palani Center for Dental Implants, please give us a call at (310) 894-8337 today!