Your teeth are a topographical map of ridges and grooves and are not, in fact, perfectly smooth surfaces in your mouth. Because they are made up of so many bumps and divots, these tiny crevasses can be breeding grounds for bacteria. However, since these channels are so narrow, it may be impossible to get your toothbrush into these little ridges. When you are unable to remove the germs, you can become vulnerable to tooth decay.
That is where dental sealants are come in, acting as a valuable resource to help prevent dental caries from forming. We here at Summercrest Dental like to offer dental sealants as an option to help close off those little nooks and grooves, helping secure the teeth against future decay.
What are Dental Sealants and How Do They Work?
Patients of all ages can benefit from dental sealants, but the earlier you start with them, the better it would be for you. If you get sealants as a child, you can help prevent tooth decay from forming in the first place. A good place to start getting dental sealants is between five to seven years of age, as soon as the permanent teeth start to erupt. Patients who are at a higher risk of tooth decay (such as those with poor oral hygiene, dry mouth, and poor diet) should get them sooner and continue getting them throughout their adolescence and adulthood.
Dental sealants are made out of a thin, plastic-like material that is painted directly onto the surface of the tooth. We normally place them on the chewing teeth, such as your molars, to close off the naturally occurring fissures in your teeth. There is no worry about their appearance, either; dental sealants are typically tooth-colored or clear in appearance, allowing them to blend in with the rest of the tooth.
For those of you who may be hesitant about if they are worth it, please note that patients who do not get dental sealants are three times more likely to develop tooth decay. On the other hand, your risk of tooth decay drops by 80 percent once you do elect to get dental sealants.
The procedure to get dental sealants is easy and painless. To begin, we will start by thoroughly cleaning your tooth to prepare it for the sealant. Once it is clean, we will then dry it, then pack the surrounding area with cotton to help keep the area dry. Next, we will etch the tooth with a gentle acid. This will create a rough surface to help the sealant affix better to the tooth. We will remove the acid, then dry the tooth once more and pack it again with more cotton. Finally, we will place the sealant directly on the tooth, then cure it with a special ultraviolet light.
How Long To Sealants Last
You can expect your dental sealant to last up to ten years, but during your routine exams with us, we will inspect the sealant to determine if we need to apply more. These are extremely safe, easy, and can help preserve your teeth from any unwanted tooth decay.
To learn more about dental sealants or to schedule an appointment with us here at Summercrest Dental. Please give us a call today at (503) 649-7701!