When you look at your teeth, the first ones you see are your front teeth. Your back teeth can easily end up on the back burner when it comes to brushing and flossing. But your back teeth need just as much attention as your other teeth. Also known as your molars and premolars, your back teeth have the important job of grinding your food to make it easier for you to swallow and digest it. They do this job with the ridges on the chewing surfaces which are called cusps. While the cusps help to process your food, they also create extra places for food particles, bacteria and plaque to hide.
To help protect your back teeth, our dentist, Dr. Sam Cigno at Bellefontaine Family Dental can apply dental sealants. A dental sealant is a thin layer of plastic which adds an additional layer of protection to your tooth enamel, keeping out the substances which can cause tooth decay. The dentist will clean and dry the tooth and apply a mild acidic solution. That solution will create small abrasions on the tooth which will help the sealant stick to it After that solution dries, the dentist will place the sealant before curing it with a special light. It should last about 10 years.
Normally, sealants are placed on the teeth of children ages six to sixteen. That is when their molars and premolars are erupting, and when they are most prone to cavities. However, if you have healthy back teeth, or if you are at a higher-than-normal risk for cavities, you could benefit from dental sealants.
Remember that sealants only protect the chewing surfaces of your back teeth, and you will need to continue to brush twice a day, floss once a day, and see your dentist for your routine cleanings and exams. If you are thinking about sealants for your child or another member of your family, and you live in the St. Louis, Missouri, area, you can schedule an appointment by calling 314-741-5133.