Your teeth are designed for different things. Your back teeth, also known as your molars are created to do the tough job of chewing and grinding your food to make it easier to swallow and digest. To get the job done, your molars come equipped with small ridges known as cusps. While these cusps are great for grinding up your food, they also create fissures in which plaque and food debris can hide and create cavities. These fissures are also difficult to reach with a toothbrush.
To combat this, your dentist can apply a thin layer of plastic to your back teeth. This is called a dental sealant and it gives your tooth enamel an added layer of protection against the acids that cause tooth decay. Your dentist will first clean and dry the tooth, and then apply an acidic solution, which will create small abrasions on the tooth surface. Those abrasions will help the sealant to adhere to the tooth. After applying the sealant, the dentist will cure it with a special light, and it should protect your tooth for around ten years. The sealant is only applied to the chewing surfaces of your back teeth, and it is not a replacement for proper brushing and flossing. While the chewing surface is protected by the sealant, the rest of your tooth is not. Dental sealants offer the best protection to children whose molars are erupting, but they can also be used to protect the teeth of people who have a high risk of cavities.
If you are interested in finding out more about dental sealants for you or your child, our dentist, Dr. Richard Ruffalo will be happy to see you! To make an appointment at Pediatric Dentistry South in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, call 412-257-1150 today.