Countless times throughout the day the teeth bite and chew foods to break them down into pieces that can easily be swallowed and digested by the body. This is an important but dirty job. Foods and beverages contain sugars, acids, and starches that can all cause damage to the teeth. These substances attract bacteria, which can build up and form a sticky layer of plaque or tartar that eats away at the protective layer of tooth enamel. Professional dental cleanings rid the teeth of harmful substances to prevent dental complications, such as tooth decay. Dental cleanings are very beneficial to patients, but sometimes people need a little extra help to prevent decay between appointments. Dr. Bruce Wilderman offers dental sealants at his Philadelphia, PA dental practice. Sealants can block out harmful bacteria to further protect the teeth.
Virtually anybody is a potential candidate for dental sealants. However, sealants are most often recommended for children and teenagers. Children’s teeth tend to have deep grooves that can be difficult to clean thoroughly, especially when proper dental hygiene habits are still being learned. Most commonly, dental sealants are applied to the back teeth, specifically, the molars and pre-molars.
Although dental sealants are not as common of a treatment for adults, they can be advantageous for some. Any patient who has deep grooves in the teeth, or who has fissures that have not already been treated with a dental filling can benefit from the application of a dental sealant.
Placing Dental Sealants
Many people are anxious about undergoing dental procedures, and one of the first questions that Dr. Wilderman usually hears when he recommends dental sealants is, “will it hurt?” Dental sealants are placed using a simple, non-invasive, and completely pain-free procedure. Prior to applying dental sealants, the teeth will be cleaned and an acidic solution will be brushed over the teeth being treated. This solution stays on the teeth for just a few minutes before being rinsed off. The acid in the solution creates rough areas on the teeth that will bond more easily with the dental sealant. After preparation, dental sealants are brushed on as a liquid. Dr. Wilderman will apply a thin layer of solution over the biting surface of the tooth. Once the sealant has been applied, we will expose it to a special dental light. The light hardens the material and allows it to bond to the tooth. After treatment is complete, the dental sealant creates a barrier between the natural tooth and harmful bacteria. By blocking out bacteria, dental sealants significantly decrease the risk of tooth decay and other dental complications.
How Long Do Sealants Last?
The lifespan of a dental sealant is dependent on a number of factors, including how much wear and tear they are exposed to and how well the teeth are cared for. With proper care, dental sealants can last for several years. Dr. Wilderman will examine the sealants at each cleaning to ensure they are still intact. If necessary, dental sealants can be repaired or replaced so that they continue to provide the teeth with an added layer of protection.
Dr. Bruce Wilderman offers a comprehensive range of general and restorative dentistry services to keep the teeth healthy and strong. If you would like to learn more about these treatments, including dental sealants, contact us at your earliest convenience.