Dental sealants are thin, protective coatings applied to the chewing surfaces of molars and premolars to prevent the development of cavities and decay. These sealants are typically made of a plastic material and are applied to the grooves and pits of the back teeth, where toothbrushes may have difficulty reaching and where food particles often accumulate. At Valley Oak Family Dentistry, dental sealants are part of our preventive dentistry services, providing an effective barrier against the damaging effects of plaque and bacteria.
The process of applying dental sealants is straightforward:
- Cleaning the Teeth: The teeth receiving sealants are thoroughly cleaned and dried to ensure the sealant adheres properly to the tooth surface.
- Etching the Teeth: A mild acidic solution may be applied to the tooth surfaces to create a rough texture that enhances the bond between the sealant and the tooth.
- Applying the Sealant: The liquid sealant material is carefully painted onto the chewing surfaces of the teeth. It then hardens quickly, forming a protective shield over the enamel.
- Curing: In some cases, a special curing light may be used to expedite the hardening process of the sealant.
Dental sealants are particularly beneficial for children and teenagers, as their newly erupted permanent teeth are more susceptible to decay. However, adults who do not have existing cavities or fillings on their back teeth may also benefit from the application of sealants.
Sealants act as a physical barrier, preventing bacteria and food particles from settling into the nooks and crannies of the molars and premolars. This proactive approach significantly reduces the risk of cavities and helps maintain optimal oral health. Regular check-ups at Valley Oak Family Dentistry may include an assessment of existing sealants, and additional sealants may be recommended based on individual needs.