Although all of your teeth can suffer decay, your back teeth are particularly susceptible to cavities. Food and bacteria can easily accumulate in the deep crevices on the top chewing surfaces. As the acid eats away at your dental enamel, cavities will form. Dental sealants at our Knoxville practice are one of the most effective ways to prevent decay in your molars. Dr. Stephen K. Malone or Dr. Michael J. Costa, Jr. will apply these thin plastic coatings, and they will form a protective shield for your teeth. Frequently a pediatric treatment, sealants can benefit adults, as well.
The Importance of Sealants
Cavities develop when food and bacteria remain inside your mouth. Sugars and bacteria interact with one another to form acid, and the acid will erode your enamel. As the outer layers of your teeth begin to wear away, the bacteria will penetrate through the deeper layers, forming cavities. Decay is especially prevalent in the back teeth (premolars and molars). The deep fissures on the top chewing surfaces can easily trap food and bacteria. Even with routine brushing, tiny food particles will often lurk in these areas. Sealants form a barrier over the top of your teeth. Even if food remains trapped in these spaces, bacteria and acid will not be able to penetrate the lower levels of your teeth.
Application of Sealants
This treatment is quick and comfortable. Your teeth will be thoroughly cleaned and dried. A solution will be applied to allow the sealant to adhere strongly. Then, the sealant solution will be applied. This is a clear or tooth-colored plastic coating that dries quickly, creating a near-impenetrable barrier. In most cases, sealants can last 10 years or more. In many cases, sealants can be reapplied if they start to wear off. At each routine cleaning and exam, your hygienist and dentist will check to see if the coating is still intact.
Are You a Candidate for Sealants?
Dr. Malone and Dr. Costa most frequently apply dental sealants on children’s teeth. They will typically recommend sealants as soon as a young patient’s adult molars first come in. However, the treatment can benefit patients of all ages. If you are an adult with healthy teeth and no existing fillings, you may qualify for sealants. In some cases, sealants may be recommended for baby teeth. For example, if your child has unusually deep grooves in his or her teeth, sealants can reduce the higher risk for decay.
Contact our Knoxville office to find out if sealants are right for you or your child. We proudly serve patients in the greater Knoxville area, including Powell, Karns, Farragut, Seymour, Maryville, and Oak Ridge.