Teeth have deep grooves on the chewing surface to help you break down and grind food as you chew. However, these same grooves are prone to trap food in them. Because these areas are harder for the toothbrush to reach and clean, oftentimes the food particles here linger long enough to attract plaque, which can lead to decay over time. It is for this reason that molars, premolars and any other teeth with many deep grooves (also known as pits and fissures) are at a greater risk of developing cavities.
Dental sealants are a special thin coating used to cover the chewing surfaces of teeth to protect them from decay. The sealants seal deep grooves, creating a smooth, easier to clean surface.
Oftentimes, sealants are recommended for younger children to prevent future decay in new, permanent teeth. However, many adults also benefit from receiving dental sealants before cavities have the chance to form, as they can last for years at a time.
The process to apply dental sealants is very simple and usually takes only one appointment in our office. Dr. Espili will first clean the teeth that will be receiving the sealants. Afterward, she will apply a special gel that will prepare your teeth to bond with the sealant. Then, the gel is rinsed off the tooth, and the tooth is dried thoroughly. Finally, Dr. Espili will apply the dental sealant to the area and help it dry and harden using a special light.
While dental sealants have the ability to protect teeth from future cavity formation, they also have an added benefit. Sealants can also prevent early cavities (called caries) from advancing into severe decay. Some sealant materials are clear-coated, which allows Dr. Espili to continue monitoring the tooth with each visit to make sure the sealant is working correctly and reapply it as necessary.
The best type of treatment for tooth decay is prevention, and that is where dental sealants come in. If you are interested in this increasingly popular preventive dental treatment, book an appointment with our office today!