Your back teeth are tasked with chewing your food in order to get it ready for digestion. In order to do their job well, those teeth, which are called premolars and molars come equipped with bumps and fissures that help the teeth grind up the food before it is swallowed. While those features help your back teeth to do that job very well, they also provide extra places for plaque to build up and in which bacteria can breed.
Fortunately, this can be prevented with dental sealants. A dental sealant is a thin layer of plastic that is placed on your molars and premolars that become a barrier between plaque and bacteria; and your tooth enamel. They are most effective when they are applied as soon as the permanent back teeth erupt, so children are the usual recipients of sealants. Additionally, the time when those teeth are erupting is a time when children are vulnerable to cavities. However, adults and older children with healthy back teeth, or who are at a risk for cavities may also benefit from sealants.
During the visit, the dentist will clean and polish the tooth before etching the surface of it to help the sealant stick to it. Afterward, the sealant is applied and cured with a light. Sealants can last many years, but need to be checked by a dentist during your regular visits.
Keep in mind that sealants are only applied to the chewing surfaces of the teeth. So, you will still need to brush twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste and floss before bed. You will also need to see your dentist for your cleanings and exams.
If you or your child could benefit from dental sealants, and you live in the Franklin, Wisconsin area, You can make an appointment to see our dentists at Drs. Timothy Ross & Susan Chmiel by calling 414-525-0300.