If you look at your back teeth, also known as your molars and premolars, right away you will notice a difference between them and your other teeth. Your molars and premolars are equipped with ridges, known as cusps. The purpose of your cusps is to chew and grind you food so that you can swallow and digest it. While the cusps are very useful for this, they also provide great hiding places for the food debris, acids and bacteria that can lead to tooth decay and gum disease. And to make matters worse, your toothbrush can’t always reach those spaces between the cusps.
Dental sealants are an answer to this problem. Dental sealants are thin layers of plastic that are applied to the back teeth that create a barrier between your tooth enamel and the substances that can harm it. The dentist will clean and dry the tooth and then treat it with a mild acid solution. That solution will create tiny abrasions on the tooth which will permit the sealant to better adhere. Once the sealant has been placed, it will be allowed to dry or cured with a special light. Sealants can last for ten years.
Dental sealants work best when they are applied as soon as the molars and premolars erupt. Because of that, the best candidates for sealants are children up to the age of 13. This is also the period in a child’s life in which they are very susceptible to cavities. However, older children and adults whose back teeth are free of cavities, or who are at a high risk of tooth decay may also benefit from dental sealants.
If you would like to learn more about dental sealants for you or your children, our dentist, Dr. Paul Lee will be happy to meet with you! To schedule an appointment at Dr. Paul Lee in Fairfax, Virginia, call 703-352-9600 today.