Even with good brushing and flossing habits, it can still be difficult to fully clean your back teeth. Cavity-causing bacteria can remain on the rough, and uneven surface of your molars. There is no substitute for brushing and flossing, but you can keep cavities from forming with dental sealant. Read on to learn more about how dental sealant can protect your teeth.

What is dental sealant?
Dental sealant is a thin plastic coating that is applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth. Sealants are painted on the top of the back teeth and harden to form a shield over the tooth. Sealant prevents food particles from getting stuck in the grooves of your molars and stops bacteria and acid from settling on your teeth. Once dental sealant is applied it fills the pits and grooves on the teeth making them easier to keep clean.

How is sealant applied?
Dental sealants are placed on the chewing surfaces of your teeth in the deep fissures of your back teeth. the tooth surface is thoroughly cleaned with a paste and rotating brush by your dentist or hygienist. They will then rinse the teeth to be sealed and dry them. An acidic solution is applied to the teeth to create a fine rougher surface to allow the sealant to adhere properly. Liquid dental sealant is brushed into the fissured area of the chewing surface of the teeth. A light is used to set the liquid and harden the plastic coating. The grooved and pitted areas are a smooth surface for easier cleaning. Dental sealants can be clear, white or have a slight tint depending upon the dental sealant used. Because some sealants are clear, your dentist can keep an eye on the tooth to make sure the sealant is doing its job.

When is the best time to seal teeth?
Your first molars appear around age 6, and second molars break through around age 12. Teeth should be sealed as soon as they come through to reduce cavities. Children without sealants develop three times more cavities than children with sealants. Dental sealants are sometimes placed in adults at risk for cavities, on deep grooves and fissures that do not already have fillings or dental sealants. Our dentist can let you know if sealants are a good option for you and your family.

What are the benefits of dental sealants?
Dental sealant has been shown to reduce the risk of decay by nearly 80% in molars because food is brushed away easier with a toothbrush. It blocks the acid from bacteria in the plaque that attacks the enamel and cavities can develop. Dental sealants only protect the surface area that they are placed on. This is especially important when it comes to your child’s dental health. A sealant costs less than filling a tooth that has a cavity. Most insurance companies cover sealants. Dental sealants can last many years. If necessary, it is also possible to place a new dental sealant on the tooth.

Protecting your teeth can prevent costly dental work. You still should work on keeping your teeth and gums clean and healthy by brushing and flossing every day. To find out more, or to set an appointment call us at 813-855-4269. Our team has years of experience and will provide you with expert advice and care for healthy teeth for life.