Sealants and Fluoride
Your teeth go through a lot every day. They see a lot of use biting and chewing a wide variety of foods. They are also exposed to heat, cold, salt, spices, and acids. They are also exposed to plaque and bacteria, which build up throughout the course of the day. Both plaque and bacteria produce acids as well. Whether the acids come from foods or plaque and bacteria, they can be harmful to the surfaces of your teeth if they are left there too long.
Acids erode your protective enamel, causing decay. Eventually, decay can lead to the formation of cavities, or small pits. Without treatment, cavities only continue to grow larger, compromising the strength and health of the affected tooth. Brushing, flossing, and regular dental cleanings are essential for preventing the formation of cavities, but sometimes these steps are not enough. At Olson Family Dental, we can provide you with additional protection with sealants and fluoride.
The chewing surfaces of your molars have cusps. Between the cusps are deep grooves and crevices. These areas can more easily trap food particles and bacteria and are more difficult to thoroughly clean out, even with regular brushing. When the bacteria remain in the crevices, they begin to multiply, and cavities begin to form. Sealants are a treatment designed to protect these vulnerable areas of your teeth. This treatment uses a synthetic material made up of plastic to cover the grooves and crevices on your molars, effectively sealing out bacteria and other debris. Also, by covering over the crevices, your teeth are easier to keep clean.
The process for getting sealants is quick, simple, and completely pain-free. First, any cavities existing in the molars must be treated. The teeth are cleaned and dried. An acid etch is applied, making a rough texture on your enamel that enhances the bond between the sealant material and your teeth. After the acid is washed away and the teeth are dried, the material is applied to your teeth. A special light is used to cure it. The whole process can be completed typically in less than 30 minutes.
The enamel is the protective layer of your teeth. It contains a naturally occurring element known as fluoride, which is essential for its strength. Every day, fluoride is leeched out of your teeth. It can, however, be replaced. For most people, fluoride is easily replaced by drinking treated tap water and using fluoridated oral care products. However, for some, this may not be enough, and decay and cavities still happen. We can help strengthen your enamel and protect the health of your teeth with fluoride treatments.
These treatments are quick and painless, taking only a few minutes of your time. After your teeth have been cleaned, a fluoride gel is applied to the surfaces of your teeth. That is all there is to it. The fluoride absorbs into your tooth enamel, helping to strengthen it and improve its ability to fight off the acids produced by plaque and bacteria. While you do not have to rinse the treatments off or otherwise remove them, it is important that you wait at least 30 minutes before you eat or drink anything to provide the fluoride with ample time to absorb. If you are prone to cavities, additional protective measures can be beneficial. For more information, and to find out if sealants and fluoride are right for you, call Olson Family Dental today at (203) 663-3316.