Dental Sealants: Preventing Cavities and Protecting Your Smile
Cavities are one of the most common problems our dental care team deals with each day. Thankfully our South Ogden, UT dental practice offers advanced dentistry services, allowing us to treat tooth decay of varying degrees. Of course, preventive dentistry is the best option to consider, and there’s a lot we can do to help you in the fight against cavities.
While regular oral hygiene is a must, many of our patients are helped by dental sealants. Let’s take a moment to consider how cavities are caused and what dental sealants can do about it.
The Causes of Tooth Decay
Tooth decay is caused by oral bacteria feeding on food particles left on the surfaces of teeth or caught between the teeth. The bacteria creates a corrosive substance that eats away at the tooth enamel, resulting in cavities.
Brushing and flossing helps clean the teeth of food particles, thus reducing the risk of tooth decay. A dental sealant takes this fight one step further.
What Is a Dental Sealant?
A dental sealant refers to a protective plastic coating that is applied to the surface of the teeth. This coating helps protect the tooth structure for decay and damage caused by oral bacteria. Thanks to dental sealants, your teeth are protected from harm.
How Dental Sealants Work
The principle is simple. With a plastic coating over the teeth, oral bacteria cannot damage the tooth structure directly.
Sealants are most commonly placed on the cusps (biting surfaces) of the molars and premolars. If you run your tongue over these teeth, you’ll notice the grooved/textured surfaces. Food particles and bacteria often get caught in these grooves. Sealants shield these surfaces, and prevent cavities from forming.
Do Dental Sealants Taste or Smell Like Anything?
This is one of the reasons why many people like having sealants in place. They provide cavity protection without impacting your sense of taste or smell.
Ideal Age to Place Dental Sealants
Dental sealants can be placed at any age, meaning that adults and children can benefit from treatment.
That said, dental sealants in children are ideally placed once the permanent teeth have emerged. Sealants can be placed on baby teeth, but it simply makes more sense t emphasize cavity protection on the teeth a person will have for the majority of their life.
The Dental Sealant Procedure
After a patient's teeth are cleaned, they are then dried off. A slightly acidic substance will be applied to the biting surfaces of the teeth to create a rough surface. This improves the hold of the sealant. The teeth are rinsed and dried again before the sealant material is applied. A light may be used to dry the sealant and speed up the already brief procedure.
How Long Do Dental Sealants Last?
Dental sealants can last for several years, keeping your teeth protected from cavity-causing bacteria. During regular dental visits every six months, your dentist can make touch-ups to the sealant as needed to prolong the cavity prevention benefits.
Contact South Ogden Smiles
For more information about preventing cavities and improving your overall dental health, be sure to contact South Ogden Smiles. We are here to help you have a great smile that is as healthy and problem-free as possible.