Tooth decay often occurs in the chewing surface of back teeth. To prevent the chance of cavities forming in these areas, sealants are applied.
What is a sealant?
A sealant is a clear shaded plastic material that is applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth (premolars and molars), where tooth decay occurs most often. Sealants act as a barrier, protecting the decay-prone areas of the teeth from plaque and acid.
Fact: Even a single tooth brush bristle is too large to reach inside the pits and fissures of the molars.
How are sealants applied?
Each tooth takes only a few minutes to seal. First, the teeth that will be sealed are cleaned. The chewing surfaces are then etched (roughened) with a weak acidic solution to help the sealant adhere to the tooth surface. Finally the sealant is brushed on and and allowed to harden. Some sealants need a special curing light to help them harden; others do not.
What about fluoride treatments?
Tooth decay or cavities used to be a certainty. However, the arrival of fluoridated drinking water and toothpaste has changed that. Fluoride is a natural mineral that safely strengthens tooth enamel (the hard outer ‘shell’ of your tooth) and helps stop cavities from forming.
Children can really benefit from fluoride. Not all communities have fluoridated water. If you child isn’t getting enough fluoride or they continue to get cavities, Dr. Tully may suggest a fluoride treatment at each hygiene visit.
Everyone over the age of six can benefit from a home fluoride rinse. Used regularly, home fluoride rinses have been proven to significantly reduce cavities up to 40 percent more than simply brushing alone.
We are also recommending to our older patients who suffer from dry mouth or are currently undergoing chemo or radiation therapy to have fluoride treatments during their hygiene visits to maintain good oral health.
Source: www.oralb.com Dental Essentials.