To a certain degree, it is easier to clean your front teeth than your back teeth, which are also called your molars and premolars. Your front teeth are relatively smooth, while your back teeth have ridges and fissures that help those teeth to grind and chew your food. While those ridges, also known as cusps are great for getting your food ready to swallow and digest, they create places where food debris, plaque, bacteria and acids can accumulate. Of course when that happens, you can develop cavities. Those cusps also make it difficult for your toothbrush to reach those areas.
In order to keep those very important teeth safe, your dentist can apply a thin layer of plastic called a dental sealant to the chewing surfaces of those back teeth to create a barrier between your tooth enamel and those harmful substances.
Your dentist will wash and dry the tooth. Afterward, they will treat it with a very mild acid solution to create small abrasions on the tooth, that will help the seal adhere. When the solution has done its work, the dentist will apply the sealant, and may cure it with a special light. That sealant can last up to ten years.
Sealants work best the earlier that they are applied. Because of that, the best time to apply dental sealants is when a child’s molars or premolars start to erupt. However, older children and adults who have healthy back teeth, or who at a high risk for cavities can also benefit from sealants.
Sealants are not replacements for good oral hygiene practices, since they only protect the chewing surfaces of the back teeth. You will need to brush twice a day and floss once a day, and see your dentist for your routine appointments.
If you would like to find out about dental sealants for you or your child, our dentists, Dr. Katherine B. Fischer and Dr. Charles C. Fischer would love to talk with you. If you would like to make an appointment at Fischer Family and Cosmetic Dentistry in Centreville, Virginia, you should call 703.994.4626 today for an appointment.