Protect Against Cavities with Dental Sealants
Dr. John Goodman provides dental sealants at his Kansas City, MO, practice to boost cavity protection. Painted directly onto the teeth, these thin plastic shields can prevent cavities in especially vulnerable areas. Children of all ages, teenagers, and adults who do not already have decay or fillings in their back teeth can be candidates for dental sealants. Contact us today if you or a member of your family needs help defending against unwanted cavities.
How Dental Sealants Work
Sealants are typically applied to the chewing surface of the back teeth, including the molars and premolars. The deep fissures and pits in these teeth are more prone to catching food debris and are more difficult to clean thoroughly. As a result, the back teeth are vulnerable to developing cavities – particularly in children who may not be as attentive to their dental hygiene.
By covering these pits, dental sealants can prevent bacteria and decay from settling in. These barriers are strong enough to withstand most chewing force and can last up to 10 years with proper care. We will examine your dental sealants during routine check-ups, to ensure that any breaks or lost sealants are replaced.
Applying the Sealants
Dr. Goodman can place a single sealant in less than a few minutes. First, the tooth is thoroughly cleaned to ensure that no debris is trapped under the sealant. Thick, absorbent material is then placed around the tooth to keep the treatment site dry during the procedure, since saliva can interfere with how the sealant dries.
Once the tooth is dry, a mildly acidic solution is applied to the enamel. This roughens the surface so that the sealant can easily bind to the tooth. After re-drying the site, we will begin applying the sealant. The plastic is painted directly onto the tooth as a liquid, allowing it to conform to the contours of the tooth.
Once exposed to air, the sealant will harden quickly, though Dr. Goodman may use a special light to speed up the process. The dried sealant should blend completely with your other teeth, in both appearance and feel. Even patients with sensitive teeth should not be bothered by the new dental sealant.
Taking Care of Your Sealants
The sealant will be dry enough to function once you leave the office, but it typically takes one to two days for it to completely settle. Small pieces of extra plastic may fall off, but this is perfectly normal. It does not mean that the sealant has failed.
You do not need to alter your diet after the sealant is applied. However, hard, sticky, or chewy foods can wear down or even pull off the sealant. Foods most likely to cause this include:
- Ice cubes
- Jawbreakers or other hard candy
- Fruit snacks or gummy bears
- Caramel or toffee
While the amount should be limited, these foods can still be enjoyed from time to time. However, restricting intake may help teach children good dietary habits for their long-term oral health.
Contact Us Today
Our dedicated, expert team believes that patients of all ages deserve the very best care. We strive to put you at ease, so that your dental experience is a good one. To take advantage of the protection that dental sealants can offer, schedule your appointment today.