Your back teeth, known as your molars and premolars, have a very special job to do. Those teeth are responsible for chewing your food to get it ready for you to swallow and digest. To do that job well, they are equipped with cusps, which make up the grooves and ridges of those teeth. The cusps are necessary, but they create extra places for food debris, plaque and bacteria to accumulate. Those things contribute to tooth decay.
Of course, to prevent problems with plaque and tooth decay you need to brush twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste, floss at least once day, and see your dentist twice a year. However, dental sealants can provide an extra layer of protection for your back teeth.
Dental sealants are thin layers of plastic that are applied to the molars and premolars and set up a barrier between your teeth and bacteria and plaque. After the tooth has been cleaned and dried, the dentist will reply a mild acidic solution to the tooth to create a very fine rough surface. Roughening up the surface allows the sealant to better adhere to your tooth. Once the tooth is dried a second time, the sealant is applied and allowed to harden.
Because dental sealants are most effective when they are applied early, for the most part, children get dental sealants when their back teeth start to erupt. But older children and adults whose back teeth are healthy, or who are at a heightened risk for cavities may also benefit from dental sealants. A dental sealant can last for many years, but they still need to be checked by a dentist.
Dental sealants are not replacements for rushing, flossing or visits to the dentist. Dental sealants are only applied to the chewing surfaces of the molars and premolars, which means you are still vulnerable to cavities.
If you are interested in dental sealants for your child or yourself, make time for a visit with Dr. Chuck Majors at MajorSmiles. If you live in the Bryan, Texas area. Call 979-776-6600 to make an appointment.