Preventing cavities is key to a healthy smile. This typically involves good oral hygiene practices, such as daily brushing, flossing and regular dental cleanings, and since the 1970’s dental sealants have proven effective at keeping molars and premolars cavity-free. Also called pit and fissure sealants, dental sealants provide a nearly invisible barrier against bacteria, sticky plaque and food particles on the chewing surfaces of the back teeth. Because the molars sit in the back of the mouth, they are harder to brush and floss properly, making them vulnerable to dental caries. The flat surface of the molars is prone to pits and fissures which hold onto bacteria and plaque. What dental sealants do is shield these teeth from harmful oral residue.
So how are dental sealants applied? Our dentist can apply the sealant on your pearly whites in just one visit in a simple, painless procedure. Basically, a thin plastic coating is painted onto the chewing surfaces of the back teeth. After the sealant is applied to tooth enamel, it hardens and bonds to the tooth, with the help of a curing light. The resin coating can be tinted, white or clear. Whenever you go to future dental cleanings, the sealants are inspected to make sure they are free from cracks or chips because constant pressure from chewing, grinding and clenching can damage them over time.
While dental sealants can last up to 10 years, 5-7 years is more common. The key is proper care and maintenance. So who can get dental sealants? The usual candidates are children and teenagers, but adults are also candidates for sealants if they are prone to cavities but currently have no fillings or cavities in the molars.
When used along with a good oral hygiene routine (thorough daily brushing, flossing and regular dental checkups and cleanings), sealants offer proven valuable protection against cavities. Please call our team at Westwood Dental today if you would like to schedule an appointment with one of our skilled doctors! 913-432-0765.