Dental sealants act as a barrier to prevent caries (cavities). They are approved dental materials typically applied to the chewing surfaces of back teeth (premolars and molars) where decay occurs most often.
Thorough brushing and flossing helps remove food particles and plaque from smooth surfaces of teeth. But toothbrush bristles cannot reach all the way into the depressions and grooves to extract food and plaque. Sealants protect these vulnerable areas by “sealing out” plaque and food.
Dental sealants are easy for your dentist to apply. The dental sealant is painted onto the tooth enamel, where it bonds directly to the tooth and hardens. This plastic resin bonds into the depressions and grooves (pits and fissures) of the chewing surfaces. The sealant acts as a barrier, protecting enamel from plaque and acids. As long as the sealant remains intact, the tooth surface will be protected from decay. Dental sealants hold up well under the force of normal chewing and may last several years before a reapplication is needed. During your regular dental visits, your dentist at Westwoods Dental will check the condition of the dental sealants and reapply them when necessary.
The likelihood of developing pit and fissure decay begins early in life, so children and teenagers are obvious candidates. But adults can benefit from dental sealants as well.
Key ingredients in preventing tooth decay and maintaining a healthy mouth are:
- Brushing twice a day with an CDA-accepted fluoride toothpaste
- Cleaning between the teeth daily with floss or another inter-dental cleaner
- Eating a balanced diet and limiting snacks
- Visiting your dentist regularly
Ask Westwoods Dental about whether dental sealants can put extra power behind your prevention program.