In the fight against tooth decay, brushing and flossing regularly are key. No matter how vigilant you are with the toothbrush, how carefully you floss, there are spaces you just can't reach. Your molars have deep crevices on their surfaces, and food particles can easily get stuck in them. The bristles on your toothbrush sometimes can't reach these areas, therefore bacteria can quickly make themselves at home and multiply. As these bacteria feed and grow, they release acids that eat away at your teeth, causing cavities. At Kooning Family Dentistry, we believe that regular visits to our office can help to prevent cavities from forming, but six months between each visit may not be enough to prevent them in the deep crevices of your molars. In order to help protect your teeth between visits, we can place sealants on your most susceptible teeth.
What are sealants?Sealants are made of a special resin that is applied to the chewing surfaces of your molars. Made up of plastic and other materials, sealants cover up the deep crevices, sealing out food particles and destructive bacteria. Sealants are placed in such a way that regular brushing can clean away anything that collects on top of them.
How are sealants applied?Sealants are a quick and painless process that requires no drilling and no anesthesia. After we clean your teeth and dry them, we apply an acidic gel to the surfaces on which the sealants are to be applied. This gel roughens up the surface of your teeth, making it easier for the material to adhere. We then clean the gel off and dry the teeth again. Finally, we apply the sealant and dry it under an ultraviolet light.
How durable are sealants?Sealants are meant to last several years. They can withstand the normal forces of chewing. Chewing on hard objects frequently may cause them to break. When you come in for your regular exams, we will check on their condition and reapply them if necessary.
Taking Care of Your SealantsSealants are not indestructible. Take care when chewing on hard foods or anything that might pierce their surface. While sealants can help to prevent cavities, they are not foolproof. Sealants only protect the area over which they are applied, but plaque and bacteria can still build on their surfaces, spreading to other parts of your teeth. It is still important that you brush your teeth at least twice a day. Flossing twice a day will help to prevent cavities between your teeth, and rinsing your mouth with an antibiotic mouthwash will kill any lingering bacteria. Don’t forget to visit us at least twice a year for regular cleanings and exams.
Sealants Are for EveryoneUsually, we place sealants on the permanent molars of children, as soon as they come in. We do this because children and adolescents are the most prone to cavities. But children are not the only ones who can get sealants. They are the perfect solution for anyone, no matter what their age.
At Kooning Family Dentistry, we take your oral health very seriously. If you are interested in sealants to help further protect your teeth from tooth decay, give our office a call today at (503) 673-9097.