The most effective method of fighting cavities is to floss and brush at least twice a day, but occasionally it can be hard to reach the entire surface of your teeth. This is especially true in the case of our molars, which reside in the deep depths of our mouths and act as a shelter for leftover food and bacteria. The good news is, dentists like Dr. Clauson offer sealants, which are thin, plastic coatings that are attached to your teeth where they hinder cavities and stop early stages of decay.
When the bacteria in your mouth meets leftover food, acids are produced. These acids can create eat into the enamel of your teeth, creating cavities. Sealants work by stopping food from getting wedged in those hard-to-reach spots while simultaneously keeping acid and bacteria off the surface of your teeth.
Considering that most of us get our first molars at six years old, the earlier sealants are administered, the better. By sealing our molars at an early age, they could remain cavity-free right from the beginning. And though you might consider them an expense, sealants are more like an investment. After all, having no cavities in your teeth means less money spent in the long-term.
Sealants aren’t just for children, however, and even adults can benefit from them. For adults who have already suffered from a minimal amount of tooth decay (which can be removed without anesthetic), a minor restoration using a preventative resin can offer similar protection.
The application process for sealants is quite simple. First, the dentist will clean the teeth the sealant will be placed on. Then she will administer an acidic gel, which forms a durable and strong bond between the sealant and the tooth to which it is being applied. After a quick rinse-and-dry, the dentist will apply the sealant and harden it with a special blue light.
After sealants are applied, they can last for several years before a dentist will need to replace them.
It’s important to remember that sealants are not an alternative to brushing your teeth. They only prevent cavities. To keep a healthy smile, you will still have to brush and floss regularly. However, if you discover that flossing and brushing are not enough to keep your teeth cavity-free, be sure to ask Dr. Clauson about sealants during your next visit.