Brushing and flossing every single day are essential for keeping your teeth healthy. So, too, are regular dental visits for cleanings and exams. However, even if you diligent with your oral healthcare routine, it is still possible to develop cavities. One area in which cavities can form are the grooves and crevices on the chewing surfaces of your molars. It is easy for food and bacteria to become trapped in these areas of your teeth, and they are often difficult to reach with your toothbrush. At PDX Center for Dentistry, we can help you to protect the health of your teeth and prevent cavities with dental sealants.
How Do Cavities Form?
Cavities form as a result of tooth decay. Bacteria thrive on lingering food particles in your mouth. As they eat, they produce acids. These acids are extremely harmful to your tooth enamel. While brushing can reduce bacteria, and eliminate the acids they produce before they have the opportunity to harm your teeth, there are some areas that are harder to keep clean. Small pits, cavities, begin to form in your teeth. Bacteria take up residence in these cavities and continue their destruction. Untreated, cavities can develop into the inner layer of your teeth, which can then lead to a serious infection.
What are Dental Sealants?
Dental sealants are an application used to protect the chewing surfaces of your molars from harmful oral bacteria. They are made up of plastic and other materials, and cover the deep grooves and crevices of your teeth, effectively sealing out bacteria, food particles, and other debris. Because they create a flat surface, they help to make your at-home oral care routine much easier.
How are Sealants Applied?
Getting your dental sealants is a quick, simple, and completely pain-free procedure, and it takes only one visit to place them. Before we place your sealants, however, we first must fill any cavities that might already be present. We start the process by cleaning and drying your teeth. Next, we apply an acid etch, which creates a rough texture on your enamel. This texture helps the sealant material to better adhere to your teeth. We wash away the etch and dry your teeth a second time. The sealant material is painted on. Finally, we cure (dry) the material with a specialized light.
How Long Do Sealants Last?
Despite being made from plastic, sealants are relatively strong and can withstand most normal daily wear. It is possible for them to last several years. When you come in for your regular dental exams, we check the condition of your sealants and reapply them if necessary. It is important to remember that sealants are not a substitute for proper oral hygiene. They only provide one layer of protection. You still need to brush and floss your teeth each day to prevent cavities from forming elsewhere on your teeth.
Aren’t Sealants for Kids?
Sealants are a popular treatment for children because they tend to be more prone to cavities. However, children are not the only ones who can benefit. Sealants can be an ideal treatment for anyone of any age. While a proper oral hygiene routine is important for preventing tooth decay and cavities, certain areas of your mouth are more susceptible to developing them than others. If you are interested in dental sealants to help protect your teeth, contact PDX Center for Dentistry today at (503) 546-9079.