Sealants and Fluoride
Our goal as your family dentist is to help you and your loved ones prevent dental diseases, like gum disease and tooth decay. Checkups and cleanings, good oral home-care, and having restorative dental work when necessary definitely go a long way toward preventing dental problems. Two more ways we help patients deter cavities are dental sealants and fluoride supplements. Sealants are most often applied on the molars of children under 14 years of age, while topical fluoride treatment is effective for patients of all ages.
About Dental Sealants
Grooves, pits, fissures, and recesses on the biting surface of back teeth (molars) make a perfect trap for food particles and bacteria. Brushing and flossing molars does not always remove all of the debris and plaque that cause cavities. Children, in particular, have trouble effectively brushing back teeth. To fill all the grooves and fissures on the chewing surface of molars, we suggest applying dental sealants.
Made of a liquid, resin-based material, dental sealants are painted onto molars, then hardened with a curing light. The process takes only minutes, but creates a smooth surface that will not hold food particles and bacteria. The smooth surfaces are easy to brush clean, and resin creates a shield over natural tooth enamel, literally blocking the bacteria that cause decay.
In most cases, sealants are applied soon after permanent molars fully erupt from the gums. Sealants generally last five years or longer, before naturally wearing off; removal is not necessary or advised.
About Fluoride Supplements
Like sealants, fluoride deters tooth decay, but the way in which it does so differs greatly from sealants. Fluoride is a mineral found in nature, in rocks, soil, and some foods. It has the unique ability to draw toward itself other minerals, including calcium and phosphorus, which strengthen tooth enamel.
Children can ingest fluoride while their teeth are developing to reap its benefits, though topical fluoride is also effective for cavity protection in kids. However, once teeth are fully developed, ingestion of fluoride is no longer effective for drawing in calcium and phosphorus. For the benefit of cavity prevention on adult teeth, fluoride must be topically applied.
We offer topical fluoride supplements for children, as well as adults who tend to suffer with a high occurrence of tooth decay. A fluoride gel is applied to tooth enamel, then left to dry. The patient is advised not to eat or drink for an hour following this treatment. Teeth feel gritty during this time, but the feeling subsides once the patient consumes food or beverages, or brushes his teeth.
The fluoride soaks into teeth and attracts phosphorus and calcium, which harden and strengthen tooth enamel. Rich with phosphorus and calcium, tooth enamel is less prone to the bacterial invasion that leads to cavities.
Schedule Your Consultation Now
Do you want to keep your children from having to suffer with cavities and undergo fillings or crowning? Does acid reflux or your unique oral environment make you prone to frequent tooth decay? Talk with us about preventive dental care, and ask specifically about sealants and fluoride. Call Docklands Dental Studio now to reserve dental checkups and cleanings for your whole family.