Finding out you have a cavity: Is there any worse news you can get at the dentist office? The fear of needing dental work is one of the top reasons people avoid making an appointment in the first place. First, there’s the anticipation of getting lectured for not brushing and flossing enough. After that come the needles, drills, and other dental instruments needed to fix that hole in your tooth. And of course, you have to pay for the whole experience on your way out the door.
Receiving the news that you have a cavity can be a bummer, but you’re not alone. Virtually all American adults have tooth decay, and more than a quarter have cavities that haven’t been treated. Once your dentist finds one, a filling is the only thing that will stop your tooth from continuing to decay (this is typically where the needles and drills come in.) While it’s crucial to treat cavities as they’re discovered, it’s equally as important to prevent cavities from tarnishing your pearly whites in the future.
Having your teeth cleaned by a dentist twice per year along with daily brushing and flossing are great first lines of defense against destructive plaque. However, these efforts alone don’t always get into all the nooks and crannies of the back teeth where food and plaque like to hide. That’s where dental sealants come in. Sealants protect these vulnerable areas from tooth decay by “sealing out” the gunk that causes cavities.
Who should get dental sealants?
Children and teenagers are the best candidates for dental sealants because of the likelihood that they’ll develop decay in the deep groves of their pre-molars and molars. However, adults can benefit from dental sealants, too. As long as you don’t have any existing decay or fillings on your molars, dental sealants can be considered as an option to protect those teeth from future cavities.
What to expect at your dental sealant procedure
Applying dental sealant is a quick and painless process that only takes a few minutes on each tooth. First, your dentist will thoroughly clean your teeth and then use cotton or another absorbent material to keep them dry. Next, a special solution that helps the sealant bond to your teeth is applied. You’ll wait just another minute or two as the sealant material is carefully painted on the chewing surfaces of your molars where it automatically hardens and dries. Sometimes a special curing light is necessary to help the sealant set completely.
And that’s it! Dental sealants can protect your teeth from decay for up to 10 years. However, they do need to be checked regularly for chipping or wearing, so make sure you don’t skip your bi-annual dentist appointment.
Come see us at Soft Touch Dental
Are you ready to protect your million-watt smile from tooth decay? Give us a call at Soft Touch Dental in San Diego to schedule a consultation and determine whether you could benefit from dental sealants. We look forward to serving you.