One of the most effective ways to prevent the occurrence of cavities and decay on an individual’s back teeth is to apply dental sealants. This treatment works by sealing off the deep pits and fissures that are optimal breeding grounds for harmful oral bacteria and acids. Sealants consist of a thinly coated layer of acrylic that is painted directly upon the surface of a tooth. This acrylic layer establishes an effective barrier, protecting the enamel of the tooth from damage.
About 75 percent of all tooth decay occurs within the deep pits and fissures of a person’s back teeth. Even with proper brushing and flossing, these areas are very difficult to reach. When dental sealants are applied, these rough surfaces are smoothed, making them much easier to clean and maintain. Sealants should be regularly checked for wear and tear, and they should last for several years if they are cared for properly.
Some of the best candidates for dental sealants are children and teenagers who are still developing proper oral hygiene practices. Sealants are often applied on baby teeth, which commonly feature deep grooves and fissures; however, many adult patients also benefit from dental sealants to protect their teeth from damage or decay.
Dental sealants are quick and easy to apply, and the process only requires one visit. The first step is to thoroughly clean and dry the tooth that is designated for sealing. The tooth is kept dry throughout the procedure using a cotton swab. Next, the surface of the tooth is roughened using an etching solution. This allows the acrylic coating to easily bond with the tooth.
After the etching solution has done its job, the tooth is rinsed and dried once again so the sealant can be applied. The coating will be painted directly upon the surface of the tooth, in a process that only requires a couple of minutes per tooth. The procedure is completed once the entire surface of the tooth has been coated and its grooves and fissures have been fully sealed.
If you would like to learn more about dental sealants and how they can help protect your teeth from damage, please call us at (509) 737-1800 to schedule an appointment.