The chewing surfaces of the back teeth have deep grooves and pits that make them vulnerable to decay. Dental sealants are made of a plastic material that is painted on these chewing surfaces to protect them from bacteria and acids that can lead to tooth decay.
Dental sealants are designed to smooth and fill the pits and grooves of molars which are susceptible to cavities because they tend to trap food particles. When bacteria become trapped in these areas, it's a recipe for cavities.
Thorough brushing and flossing help to remove plaque and food particles from the smooth surfaces of teeth, it can be difficult to reach into the depressions and grooves on the chewing surfaces to extract food and plaque from these areas. Dental sealants are an excellent way to add extra protection by creating a smooth surface. Dental sealants are most commonly used for children; however, adults who are at a high risk for cavities can also benefit.
The process of placing a sealant is fast and painless and can usually be completed during a regular dental visit. Before placing a dental sealant, the tooth is thoroughly cleaned and dried. Then an acidic solution is placed on the chewing surface to create a surface that is easier for the sealant to bond to. Finally, the liquid sealant material is painted on the tooth and hardened. Once the sealant has hardened, it becomes a smooth plastic coating. This will help to keep damaging food particles off of the tooth and make it easier to clean. The tooth can be cared for and used normally.
For more information about sealants and other preventive dental treatments available in our San Diego dental office, give our friendly team a call. You can reach us at (619) 377-8577.