No matter how diligent you are about brushing and flossing your teeth, sometimes there are just little grooves and crevices, especially in the back teeth (molars), that can harbor bacteria and food particles. The molars are particularly prone to these ideal hiding places for cavity-causing build-up due to their rough and uneven surfaces that we use to chew food with multiple times a day.
There are several ways to prevent tooth decay in these hard-to-reach spots. Fluoride helps protect the teeth from decay. Most drinking water in the United States contains fluoride to help our teeth in the fight against bacteria and plaque. Dentists offer fluoride treatments for children every six months during their regular cleanings. The clear fluoride varnish is simply painted onto the surface of the teeth and dries very quickly.
Another way to help prevent cavities, especially in children, is through dental sealants. The clear or white thin material is placed on the molars and premolars and acts as a physical barrier against food particles and bacteria that cause tooth decay. The American Dental Association says the risk of cavities decreases by 80% when sealants are placed. Sealants are affordable, easy and fast. This is the process:
- Clean and Dry Teeth
Placing sealants after a regularly scheduled cleaning is perfect. After the hygienist cleans and dries your teeth, you are ready for the process.
- Tooth Conditioner
A simple tooth conditioner is applied to the surface of your teeth. 15 seconds later it’s rinsed off, and the teeth are dried.
Once dry, the sealant is placed on the teeth and a special light is used to cure and harden it.
That’s it. No pain, no numbing, no long drawn-out procedure, no recovery needed. The entire process usually takes around fifteen minutes depending on how many teeth are being sealed. The sealants will last approximately three to five years and will be monitored at all regular cleaning and checkup appointments. Call Dr. Kerbel’s office today at (972) 278-9901 to schedule an appointment for a cleaning or for any questions regarding sealants. You can also visit his informational page on Preventative Tooth Sealants HERE.