Many people have deep pits and grooves in their back molars. Bacteria and food particles can get caught in these grooves and cause decay. It’s difficult to clean deep grooves, even with good brushing habits, because the brush can’t reach down into the spaces to clean them. Children with poor brushing habits may also develop decay on their molars, because they can be hard to reach and to brush effectively, especially for a young brusher.
For situations like these, dental sealants offer a means of protecting molar and premolar chewing surfaces from decay. Recognized by the American Dental Association as a key means of cavity prevention, dental sealants are simply a thin plastic film that can be applied to teeth.
What’s it like to get dental sealants?
When you come for your regular checkup, Dr. Lewis will evaluate your molars. If you’ve had sealants before, they may have worn off; they usually need to be replaced every five to ten years. At your child’s checkups, Dr. Lewis evaluates the teeth as they come in. It’s best to apply the sealants soon after the molars erupt through the gums, before they’ve had a chance to get any cavities. The longer you wait to put on the sealants, the more likely a cavity will develop in those difficult-to-reach grooves.
First, we make sure there isn’t any decay already present. If there are any cavities, then they’ll need to be filled before sealants are placed; if the sealants are placed over cavities, then the cavities will keep getting worse and could severely damage the tooth.
Next, your teeth are prepared to receive the sealant with a cleaning and etching solution. After about 15 seconds, we thoroughly rinse the solution and dry the surface. Then we coat your teeth with the sealant, and then harden it with a curing light. The entire procedure is fast, easy, and comfortable. It takes about 10 to 45 minutes, depending on the number of teeth to seal.
Dental sealants create an impenetrable physical barrier for small food particles and cavity-causing bacteria, making them highly effective in preventing tooth surface decay and the resulting cavities. Sealants aren’t a replacement for fluoride, which is still important in protecting your and your child’s dental health. Fluoride strengthens the minerals in your teeth, while sealants keep away bacteria and sugars.
Most insurance companies only cover sealant procedures at a minimal level, but the good news is that insurance companies seem to be recognizing this technique’s value as a preventive measure that will help reduce future dental costs and more aggressive treatments.
Dentist in Virginia Beach
If you’re thinking about getting dental sealants in Virginia Beach, then you should visit your dentist. He or she will examine your teeth, and then you can have the sealants applied. Dr. Mary Lewis is a top dentist in Virginia Beach. She’s friendly and easygoing, putting both adults and children at ease when they visit her office. If you or your child is at all nervous about seeing the dentist, then Dr. Lewis will help to reileve that anxiety. To book an appointment with Dr. Lewis, please call our office. We look forward to meeting you!