Good oral health care habits such as brushing and flossing and fluoride can help to protect teeth from decay, but for an extra level of protection, dental sealants are a great option. Dental sealants are thin plastic coatings that are placed on the teeth – usually the chewing (occlusal) surface of the back teeth – to protect them from decay.
The surfaces of molar and premolar teeth have grooves called fissures that are difficult to clean thoroughly. This leaves them vulnerable to decay. Because they are so deep and narrow, it’s easy for plaque to accumulate in those fissures. The bacteria in the plaque produce acids that can start to attack teeth enamel, leading to the development of cavities. Dental sealants create a smooth surface over these vulnerable areas, helping to combat the accumulation of food particles and plaque.
To place dental sealants, the teeth receiving the sealants must first be cleaned and dried thoroughly. An acidic solution is placed on the fissured area of the tooth’s chewing surface for a few seconds, then rinsed off. This solution creates a fine rougher surface in the enamel, which helps the sealants to attach better to the tooth. The tooth must then be dried again. The sealant is placed onto the tooth in liquid form and hardened with a special light. There is also another type of sealant available that has two components and can set without a light. Once the sealant has hardened into a hard plastic covering, the tooth can be used as normal once again.
Sealants can last for many years and can be replaced, if necessary. Even with dental sealants in place, it is important to maintain regular brushing and flossing, and fluoride remains an essential mineral for healthy teeth.
Want to ensure your teeth are as protected as possible? Schedule an appointment with our dentist today for your dental sealants in Peoria, AZ.