Your teeth have a specific shape and strength that enables them to bite and chew food. In fact, you may see that your back teeth, or your molars and premolars, have ridges called cusps that turn food into digestion-appropriate mulch. In addition to aiding digestion, though, these cusps can ensnare plaque and food debris and trap them. To keep cavities from forming on back teeth, our dentist may recommend that you receive dental sealants to block out tooth decay.
Tooth decay is often most common in the back teeth, which is why we can offer these teeth a thin plastic seal that protects the chewing surfaces from harmful substances such as plaque so that they are safer and easier to clean.
Dental sealants are applied to a tooth that is clean and dry, but we must first roughen the tooth surface using a mildly acidic solution so that the sealants can easily bond with the tooth enamel for many years. Then our dentist coats the biting surface with a sealant that will harden naturally or become cured (hardened) with a special light.
Sealants are often provided to children who are about six years old when their molars and premolars have just erupted. However, older children and adults may also be candidates for dental sealants if they have healthy back teeth and are concerned about a high risk of cavities.
Since dental sealants are not substitutes for regular dental hygiene habits, you still need to clean the whole tooth, even the chewing surface, twice a day and visit your dentist every six months for dental checkups. During these visits, we will assess the health of the sealants in case they should be replaced.
To speak with Dr. Chris Ostendorf about receiving dental sealants in Stewartsville, Missouri, call Ostendorf Family Dentistry at (816) 669-3611 today!