Taking care of your mouth every day, as well as having your teeth and mouth professionally cleaned and examined bi-annually, is essential for maintaining optimal oral health. However, even those who are diligent with their oral care routine can still face tooth decay and cavities. The molars of your teeth contain deep grooves and crevices. These areas are more difficult to keep clean, which can lead to a buildup of oral bacteria. These bacteria can then erode your tooth enamel, leading to cavities. At David Crumpton, DDS, we can help to protect your teeth with sealants.
The Formation of Cavities
Cavities form as a result of tooth decay, which is caused by plaque and bacteria. Both of these things occur naturally in your mouth. Plaque, which is naturally acidic, accumulates on your teeth throughout the day. The bacteria feast on the leftover food particles and sugars in your mouth. As they eat, they produce harmful acids, and they multiply rapidly. Brushing and flossing are important for reducing plaque and bacteria and neutralizing their acids. However, even if one small area is missed, they can continue to accumulate. When the acids are left on the teeth too long, they start to erode or eat away at the tooth enamel, causing the formation of pits (cavities). Untreated, cavities continue to grow and can enter the inner layer of the teeth. This can then lead to serious and very painful infections.
What Dental Sealants Are
Sealants are a treatment designed to aid in the prevention of cavities in the first place. They are an application, which is made up of plastic and other materials. They are applied to the chewing surfaces of your molars, where they cover the deep grooves and crevices. In doing so, an effective barrier is created, sealing out bacteria and other debris. Sealants also create a flat surface that is much easier to keep clean.
Aren’t Sealants for Kids?
Sealants are commonly used on the teeth of children. This is because kids are more susceptible to cavities than adults. However, anyone can get cavities. Sealants can provide effective cavity prevention for both children and adults alike.
Applying Your Sealants
The application of your sealants is a quick, simple, pain-free process. First, before applying your sealants, any cavities that you currently have must be treated. The target teeth are first cleaned and dried. An acid etch is applied, which creates a rough surface on your enamel. This helps the sealant material to adhere more effectively to your teeth. The acid is washed away, and the teeth dried again. The sealant material is then painted on and dried with a specialized light.
How Long Do Sealants Last?
Sealants are quite strong, and they can withstand normal use. They can last for several years. If they do become damaged, they can easily be reapplied.
Despite the fact that sealants help to prevent cavities, they should not be taken as a substitute for good oral hygiene practices. Sealants only protect where they are applied. Even then, they can still collect plaque and bacteria on their surfaces. It is essential that you continue to brush at least twice a day, floss daily, and have your teeth regularly professionally cleaned and examined. Combined with proper oral hygiene, sealants can help you to keep your mouth healthy and happy.
Proper oral hygiene is essential for maintaining good oral health, however, sometimes it may not be enough. If you are interested in learning more about dental sealants or finding out if it’s right for you, contact David Crumpton, DDS today.