One of the best methods of preventing cavities and decay on the biting surface of back teeth (molars) is through the use of dental sealants. A sealant consists of a thin layer of acrylic that is painted on the surface of a tooth in order to seal off the deep pits and fissures upon its surface. This creates an effective barrier that is designed to protect the enamel of the tooth from bacteria and acids.
Roughly 75 percent of all tooth decay initiates within these grooves and fissures. Even with proper brushing and flossing, these critical areas are difficult to reach. By applying sealants, these rough surfaces can be smoothed, making them much easier to clean and maintain. While properly applied sealants can protect teeth for many years, they should be checked for wear and chipping regularly.
In many cases, sealants are used for children and teenagers who are still learning correct brushing and flossing habits. They can also be used on baby teeth that feature deep grooves or fissures; however, many adults also benefit from the use of sealants.
Sealants are applied during a single visit. The procedure is quick and easy, only taking a couple of minutes per tooth. The first step is to clean and dry any tooth that is going to be sealed. The tooth is kept dry during the procedure using a cotton swab. Next, an etching solution is used to roughen the surface of the tooth so the sealant coating can easily bond with it. Once the surface is adequately roughened, the solution is rinsed off, and the tooth is dried once again. Finally, the sealant is painted onto the surface of the tooth and allowed to dry. The dentist will ensure that the grooves of the tooth have been properly sealed.
To learn more about how sealants can be used to protect the teeth of you or your loved ones, please call our office at (770) 824-8916 to arrange an appointment.