Your back teeth have an important job to do. They are the teeth that grind and chew your food so that you can swallow and digest it. To get the job done, your back teeth, known as molars and premolars come equipped with ridges, known as cusps, which do the hard work of chewing your food. These cusps are great food processors, but they also create fissures that give plaque, food debris and acids a place to hide and attack the enamel of your teeth.
To stop that attack, your dentist can apply a thin layer of plastic to your molars and premolars that will act as a barrier between your tooth enamel and those damaging substances. The tooth is cleaned and dried, and then treated with a very mild acid solution. That solution will create small abrasions on the surface your tooth, which will help the sealant adhere. The sealant will be cured with a special light, or allowed to dry, providing protection that can last for up to ten years in some cases.
While dental sealants are usually reserved for children whose molars and premolars are erupting, older children and adults may also benefit from them. If your back teeth are healthy, if you are at a heightened risk of cavities, or if there is a need to stop the spread of tooth decay, your dentist may recommend dental sealants for you.
Even if you do receive dental sealants, you should keep in mind that they do not replace brushing twice a day, flossing once a day and seeing your dentist for your regular appointments. Sealants are only applied to the chewing surfaces of the your back teeth.
If you are interested in dental sealants for your child or another member of your family, our dentist, Dr. Michael Ling will be happy to meet with you. If you live in the Blaine, Minnesota, area, call 763-784-1993 today to make an appointment at Ling Family Dentistry.