When most people hear the word "dentist" the first thing that comes to mind is cavities. You probably grew up getting your teeth cleaned once or twice a year if you were lucky, and at worst having cavities filled whenever they became painful. But dentistry also has a preventative side to it. Sealants are often used to cover cracks, grooves, and depressions in your teeth, thereby making it harder for bacteria to take hold and cause decay. Sealants are so effective, they can be thought of as "bullet proof vests", with regard to how well they stop acids from penetrating your teeth.
What causes tooth decay?
- Germs in your mouth combine with sugar in food.
- Germs and sugar produce acid.
- The acid attacks and erodes your teeth.
What are the ramifications of tooth decay?
- Holes are formed on the top, side, and inner surfaces of your teeth. Repairs are made with fillings and crowns.
- Decay can permeate your teeth all the way to the root and even damage the nerves. Repairs are made with root canal treatments.
Even if you faithfully brush and floss your teeth twice a day, you may still suffer from some degree of tooth decay. Dental sealants are an added preventative measure, and work by
- Serving as a protective barrier between decay causing bacteria and the teeth, after being bonded to the grooved chewing surfaces of your molars. Molars are more susceptible to decay than front teeth, because they often are brushed less and used to eat with more.
- Sealing depressions, small cracks, and grooves in your teeth that serve as breeding ground for acid and bacteria because they are hard to fully clean with a toothbrush.
- Protecting children's teeth from decay, as a means of maintaining a healthy environment for the permanent teeth that will eventually emerge.
Dentists have been using sealants on their patients' teeth since the beginning of the 1960s, and they have proven to be very successful in reducing the amount of decay in children and adults. If your dentist offers to apply a sealant to your teeth, don't hesitate to say yes.
The procedure will give you ongoing protection for up to five years and the money spent on the sealant will surely be much less than whatever you might have to spend on fillings and crowns if your teeth decay. Why not talk to your dentist today and see if you qualify for dental sealants? For more information, contact a business such as Westwood Dental Clinic.