How can sealants help protect your teeth?

on December 5, 2013

Prevention is the best way to ensure you keep your teeth for your whole life. Home care is a large part of prevention, but there are procedures that can help protect your smile and increase the life of your teeth. One such procedure is dental sealants.

How Sealants Work

Dental sealants are clear or white resin material that is placed on the chewing surface of your teeth to protect against bacteria and decay. Sealants are a physical barrier between your natural tooth enamel and the bacteria in your mouth. Sealants are only applied to the chewing surfaces of your teeth, as these are the most susceptible to decay and the most difficult to clean due to their uneven anatomy.

At your appointment, one of our Evanston dentists will clean and prep your teeth. Then he will apply the resin material to the chewing surface of each tooth. Then the material is hardened using a curing light. Once the material hardens, it may protect your teeth for 5 to 10 years. Your hygienists will check your sealants at each hygiene appointment to make sure they are still intact. If a sealant begins to break down from wear, they can be reapplied.

The Need for Sealants

As your teeth form, the enamel is built up through mineralization. This process forms pits and grooves which are part of the natural anatomy of your tooth. These natural pits and grooves are ideal places for bacteria to live and food particles to get caught. This creates an ideal environment to promote tooth decay and cavity formation. As the bacteria metabolize the sugars from leftover food particles, they produce acids which decay and erode your tooth enamel, thus form cavities.

Normal brushing is not enough to thoroughly clean the pits and grooves of your teeth. Even toothbrushes with micro bristles, such as a Rotodent, are not always able to access the entire surface area of your teeth.

Who Can Have Sealants

Our Evanston dentistsrecommend sealants for children as soon as their adult teeth erupt. This provides the most protection for new teeth. Any tooth that has not been exposed to decay can be sealed. Once a tooth experiences decay, it can no longer be sealed. In that case, the decayed portion needs to be removed and a filling needs to be placed. There is no age restriction that limits sealants to children.

Dental sealants are an excellent way to protect your teeth, but they do not preclude you from visiting the dentist or taking proper care of your teeth. Sealants are just one of the tools our dental professionals use to help you protect your teeth. When combined with proper home care and regular dental visits, dental sealants can help you keep your teeth for your whole life.

SDManageHow can sealants help protect your teeth?