Tooth decay is a common dental condition, and estimates show that nearly 99% of the population in the United States will develop a cavity at least once in their lifetime. The reason tooth decay is so common is that it is actually an infectious disease caused by an oral bacteria, streptococci mutans, that is transmitted orally—normally in childhood. Fortunately, our dentist offers treatment options that help prevent decay among children. One such popular treatment is called a dental sealant.
What is a dental sealant?
A dental sealant is a biocompatible sheath of plastic that is applied to the teeth located at the back of the mouth. A sealant is first brushed on the teeth in liquid form and then hardened by a dental curing light. Since the material used in a sealant is resistant to oral bacteria, this preventive service helps prevent cavities from forming on molars.
How does a sealant prevent cavities?
As teeth develop, the back molars are marked with pits and grooves called fissures. This is a prime area for bacteria and plaque to collect and colonize. Another reason the back teeth are more susceptible to decay is that younger patients, still establishing their oral hygiene regimes, have difficulty reaching their back teeth when brushing. A dental sealant will fill in these pits and grooves on the molars and help keep the biting surfaces of teeth free of bacteria. While a sealant is not a replacement for good oral hygiene practices, it does aid in the prevention of dental caries.
Are there other preventive services available as well?
Yes, our dentist offers other preventive dental services including fluoride treatments and professional cleanings. Fluoride treatments come in the form of a foam or varnish and are left on the teeth for a short amount of time. As a naturally occurring mineral, fluoride strengthens the protective coating around teeth called tooth enamel. Professional cleanings are also important to preventing decay and gum disease. During cleanings our dental hygienists will gently remove tartar deposits and polish teeth.
To reserve an appointment with our experienced dentist, Dr. Philip Kozlow, contact our practice today.