You already know how important it is to brush and floss your teeth every day. You brush twice daily and floss at least once a day. Even with proper care, there are some areas of your mouth that are more difficult to keep clean than others, which can lead to the formation of decay and cavities. The chewing surfaces of your molars are particularly vulnerable to cavities. These surfaces have deep crevices that can collect bacteria and food particles. They can also be difficult to effectively clean, no matter how much you brush. At West End Dental, we can help to protect these vulnerable areas of your teeth with sealants.
How Do Cavities Form in the First Place?
Cavities form as a result of tooth decay. Tooth decay occurs when the acids produced by plaque and bacteria, as well as acids from certain types of foods and beverages, are left to sit on the surfaces of your teeth. These acids eat away at the protective enamel layer of your teeth, weakening it. When the enamel becomes too weak, small pits, or cavities, begin to form. Without treatment, cavities only continue to grow larger and deeper, compromising the structural integrity of the affected teeth and leaving them vulnerable to painful infections. Taking steps to prevent tooth decay from occurring prevents cavities, keeping your teeth strong and healthy.
What are Sealants?
Sealants are a treatment designed to protect the vulnerable chewing surfaces of your molars. These surfaces have natural deep grooves that can easily collect bacteria and food particles. They may also be difficult to clean completely, no matter how often you brush. Sealants, which are an application made up of plastic, help to seal these crevices, preventing bacteria and food particles from getting trapped in the first place.
Fast, Simple Treatment
Getting sealants is and quick, simple process that is completely pain-free. First, we need to thoroughly clean your teeth. Next, an acid etch is applied to the chewing surfaces of your molars. This acid etch to create a rough texture in your enamel, which is done to enhance the bond between the sealant material and your teeth. After the acid etch is washed off, the teeth are dried. Finally, the sealant material is painted onto the teeth and cured using a specialized light. Once dry, your molars are provided with immediate protection.
How Long Do Sealants Last?
Despite being made from plastic, sealants are incredibly resilient and can withstand a significant amount of daily use. With proper care, they can last for many years. If they do become damaged, they can easily be reapplied.
While effective, it is important to know that sealants only protect the areas of your teeth where they are applied. It is still important that you maintain good oral hygiene practices. Without proper brushing, flossing, and regular dental visits, cavities can form on other areas of your teeth, including around the borders of your sealants, which can render them ineffective.
Who is a Candidate for Sealants?
Because cavities are commonly associated with children, it is often thought that only children get sealants. The truth, however, is that tooth decay and cavities affect millions of people of all ages, from children to senior citizens. Sealants can help to provide an additional layer of protection no matter what your age.
If you are interested in learning more about sealants, and if this treatment is the right solution for you, call West End Dental today at (503) 446-2957.
WE TREAT OUR PATIENTS WITH RESPECTWe believe in educating patients about their treatment options and listening to their questions and concerns.
WE BELIEVE IN HEALTHY TEETH FIRSTWe focus on prevention so that you keep your smile healthy. We provide excellent comfortable care for all procedures.