Brushing and flossing your teeth every day are essential components for maintaining optimal oral health. Along with these habits, it is also crucial to have regular dental cleanings and exams. Even if you adhere to a strict oral care regimen, however, it is still possible to be faced with oral health issues, including cavities. Cavities are common on the chewing surfaces of the molars, which contain deep crevices where food particles and bacteria can be trapped. It can be difficult to reach these crevices, providing a perfect environment to host bacterial growth. At Century Dental we can help you to keep your teeth healthy, and prevent cavities, with sealants.
How Do Cavities Form in the First Place?
Cavities are small pits that form in the teeth as a result of tooth decay. Tooth decay is the erosion of the outer layer (the enamel) of the teeth, which occurs as a result of acid attacks. Oral bacteria, which occur naturally in the mouth, feed on lingering sugars, producing acids as they do. Brushing and flossing can help to reduce the number of oral bacteria in your mouth and eliminate the acids before they have the opportunity to do any harm. However, some areas of the mouth are harder to access with a toothbrush or floss, providing a perfect hiding place for bacteria. The acids remain on the surface of the tooth and begin to eat away at the enamel. Eventually leading to cavities. Untreated cavities continue to grow as bacteria continue to destroy the structure of the tooth. If the cavity grows deep enough, bacteria can even enter the interior of the tooth, which can then lead to a serious infection.
What are Sealants?
Sealants are a treatment designed to cover deep crevices, preventing the collection of food debris and oral bacteria. They also help to make the teeth easier to keep clean, and therefore healthy. They a synthetic material, made up of plastics and other materials, and are applied directly to the chewing surfaces of the molars. The process for sealants is quick, simple, and completely painless. After we clean the teeth (and treat any existing cavities), we make sure the teeth are dry. We then paint the sealant material on the chewing surfaces of the molars and dry the material with a special light.
How Long Do Sealants Last?
Sealants made be made of plastic, but they are still able to withstand normal daily wear and tear. They can last for several years. If a sealant is damaged, it can easily be reapplied for continued protection.
Sealants may protect the chewing surfaces of your molars, but they are not a substitute for your regular oral hygiene routine. Sealants only protect the areas to which they are applied. This means that cavities can form in other areas of the teeth if you neglect your oral care. It is still important to brush at least twice a day, floss daily, and visit the office for regular cleanings and exams. During your oral exams, we will check your teeth for the early signs of issues, including tooth decay, and also make sure that your sealants are still completely intact.
But, I Thought Sealants Were for Kids?
Sealants are a common treatment for children. This is because children tend to be more prone to cavities. Adults can still get cavities, too, and some are more prone than others. Sealants can help to protect anyone of any age.
If you are interested in learning more about sealants, and if they are right for you, contact Century Dental at (971) 708-1608 today.