Dental sealants, also called fissure sealants, act as a barrier to help prevent erosion and cavities. In this procedure, a polyurethane material is placed over any cracks or pits and across the chewing surfaces of the tooth. In most cases this is done on the teeth at the back of the mouth since these are the teeth that take the most force when you bite down or chew.
As mentioned earlier, sealants are not only used to help prevent wearing of the tooth, they are also quite helpful in warding off cavities and decay in the tooth. Because of the way the mouth is shaped, the teeth towards the back do not get the same amount of saliva – which means they don’t get as much of its benefits – as the rest of the mouth. This lower amount of saliva can often mean that food is left behind in the spaces on and around the tooth and is not washes away as effectively as it is with front teeth.
Cadena Family Dentistry is highly experienced in applying sealants. The procedure itself is simple and painless, and only takes a few minutes. First, the teeth are cleaned and dried and the surfaces are prepared. Then, the sealant is painted onto the tooth, where it bonds directly to the enamel as it hardens. The resin bonds into any grooves, pits, cracks, etc. – fitting itself perfectly to the shape of your tooth. There, it can act as a barrier and keep plaque and acid from damaging the enamel beneath it.
With proper maintenance, you can expect your sealant to last up to ten years. You will need be seen regularly throughout this period not only for your yearly dental checkups, but also to have the sealant examined for any cracks, chips, peeling or other deformities that would make them ineffective. Areas that need to be replaced can be done quickly and easily. Without these inspections, it is possible for your sealant to lift, allowing food to get between the sealant and the tooth and for decay to set in.
Maintaining your sealant is almost exactly the same as the maintenance you would normally do on your natural teeth. It is necessary to brush your teeth at least twice a day, every day – preferably with toothpaste that has been fortified with fluoride. You must also clean the areas between the teeth frequently by using floss or some other interspace cleaner.
Cadena Family Dentistry believes in the importance of a balanced diet in maintaining optimal dental health. Foods high in sugar, caffeine and carbonation can all be damaging to the enamel. Maintaining a balanced diet can not only help to avoid decay, but can – in fact – strengthen the tooth and the jawbone as well as increase the health of the gum tissue. All of these factors are paramount in achieving and maintaining a healthy mouth.