Fighting tooth decay is a constant and challenging battle for everyone, but especially for children. Just like adults, kids have millions of oral bacteria that can lead to cavities. Moreover, those little hands can have a tough time brushing and flossing their teeth well. Therefore, as your dentist in Leesburg, I like to routinely apply dental sealants. But children aren’t the only ones who can benefit from these protective coatings. If you are prone to tooth decay, then I may suggest that you have sealants, too.
What are Dental Sealants?
Dental sealants are hard coatings that cover the biting surfaces of molars. Because these teeth are deeply grooved and pitted—and because they are the most difficult for adults and children to clean well—dental sealants do the best here. Sealants start out as a clear liquid that dries to create a protective shield against the bacteria, acids and other toxins that can lead to cavities.
How are Dental Sealants Applied?
The process is really quite simple. At the conclusion of a dental cleaning, teeth are dried. Then, a gel that helps the sealants adhere to your teeth is applied. This is rinsed away after a few seconds and the teeth are dried once again. Finally, the liquid dental sealant is applied and quickly set with a special curing light. You can expect sealants to last between five to 10 years.
The Advantages of Dental Sealants
Once dental sealants are applied, you will benefit from a number of oral health advantages. First, these coatings on the enamel surface of teeth reduce the amount of decay-causing bacteria and acid that come in contact with teeth. The deep grooves in molars are where acids tend to settle. Many of the foods we consume naturally contain acids, and bacteria excrete acids in the mouth. These can erode the surface of teeth. I would much rather prevent cavities with dental sealants than need to drill and fill a decayed tooth.
Another advantage is that dental sealants make the chewing surface a bit smoother, so particles of food are rinsed away more easily. And if those particles aren’t left behind, then bacteria are less likely to cling to molars. In fact, I sometimes suggest dental sealants for other teeth, too, if they have a rough surface that is more likely to harbor plaque and bacteria.
Ask about dental sealants at your next dental checkup. I’ll be glad to let you know if they’d be advantageous for you.
Meet the Doctor
Dr. David Groy is a family dentist in Leesburg. He and his staff take care of smiles of all ages with dental sealants and other forms of preventive dentistry.