If you take a good look at your teeth, you will notice that your back teeth obviously look very different from your front teeth. That’s because your back teeth are designed for chewing; and they have nooks, crannies, grooves and ridges that help them do their job. But at the same time, those spots can be hard to reach with a brush, which means bacteria and plaque can build up in those places, leading to tooth decay.
Of course, your first line of defense against tooth decay is to brush twice a day, floss before bed, eat a healthy diet and see your dentist on a regular basis. Unfortunately, your toothbrush and your floss might not be able to hit every chewing surface of those teeth. That’s where dental sealants come in.
Dental sealants are thin coating of dental material that is applied to the teeth to literally seal them against cavities. Dental sealants are usually applied to kid’s teeth, since the first molars come in at about age six, and the permanent molars arrive around the time they turn twelve. However, if you are an adult who has healthy molars, you will also benefit from dental sealants. In some cases, a sealant might be applied over an area of your tooth that is showing early signs of decay to keep the damage from spreading.
The process does not take long and is pain-free. The dentist will clean your teeth, and then use a gel to roughen the surface of the tooth to help the sealant adhere to the surface. After rinsing off the gel, the dentist will apply the sealant and then use a special light to dry it.
Dental sealants are very efficient at protecting your teeth from decay. They can last up to five years. But, your dentist needs to evaluate them periodically, and they are no substitute for brushing and flossing and regular visits to the dentist’s office.
If you are considering dental sealants for your child or for yourself, the first step is a cleaning and exam by Dr. Barton Barré at Barré Dental Care in Harvey, Louisiana. We’ll be happy to examine your teeth and decide if a dental sealant is a good choice for you or your child. Make an appointment to see us today at 504-367-0355.