Proper oral hygiene is essential for preventing serious oral health issues, including cavities. Oral hygiene consists of several components—brushing twice a day, flossing daily, and getting professional cleanings and exams at least twice a year. However, even with an impeccable oral hygiene routine, it is still possible for cavities to form. Your molars have deep grooves and crevices that can be difficult to clean, providing the perfect hiding place for oral bacteria and other debris, which can ultimately lead to cavities. At Jon C. Packman DDS, we can help you to prevent cavities in these hard to reach areas with dental sealants.
The Formation of Cavities
Cavities are the result of tooth decay. Oral bacteria live on the sugars that linger in your mouth. As they eat, acids are produced. When left too long, the acids begin to erode the enamel (the strong, outer layer of the teeth). Eventually, the erosion leads to a pit, or cavity. Untreated, cavities only continue to grow. They can destroy the structure of your tooth, weakening it. Cavities can also enter the interior of the tooth, which can then allow bacteria to enter the tooth, which can result in an infection.
Dental sealants are a preventative measure used to help protect your teeth against the formation of cavities. They are a quick, simple, noninvasive application made up of plastic and other materials. Sealants are applied to the chewing surfaces of your molars, covering over the deep grooves and crevices where bacteria and debris collect. With a flatter surface, your teeth are easier to care for, and you can more easily prevent cavities from forming.
How Sealants Are Applied
The procedure for sealants is quick, taking less than half an hour, and are completely pain-free. Before sealants can be applied, any existing cavities need to be treated. The targeted teeth are cleaned and dried. An acid etch is applied to the teeth, which creates a rough surface. This texture aids in creating a stronger bond between the sealant material and your teeth. The acid etch is washed away and the teeth are dried again. We then paint the sealants on the teeth and use a specialized light is used to cure (dry) them.
How Long Can Sealants Last?
Sealants are fairly strong, able to withstand most normal daily wear and tear, and can actually last for several years. However, it is important to remember that dental sealants are not a substitute for proper oral care. Sealants only provide protection against cavities where they are applied. Regular brushing and flossing, along with regular dental cleanings and exams, are still important. During your exams, we will check the condition of your sealants to make sure that they are still intact. In the event that they are ever damaged, they can easily be reapplied.
Aren’t Sealants a Treatment for Kids?
Sealants are often associated with children. This is because children tend to be more prone to cavities than adults, and sealants provide additional protection during their most vulnerable years. However, the truth is that anyone of any age can benefit from the added protection that sealants provide. Sealants are a noninvasive way to prevent cavities on the harder to reach areas of your teeth. Contact Jon C. Packman DDS today to learn more.