Every tooth has an important job to do. In the case of your back teeth, which are known as your molars and premolars, that job is chewing your food to make it easier to swallow and to digest. The reason those teeth are effective at that job is because of the ridges and fissures found on their chewing surfaces. Those features help to grind up the food, but they also provide great spaces for plaque and bacteria to hide and create cavities.
Brushing and flossing, along with regular visits to the dentist for routine cleanings and exams will always be the best way to prevent cavities. But placing dental sealants on the back teeth can add an extra line of defense against plaque and bacteria.
Dental sealants are thin layers of plastic applied to the back teeth. After giving the tooth a thorough cleaning, it is washed and dried. Afterward, an acidic solution is applied to the tooth to help the sealant adhere to the surface. The tooth is dried and the sealant is applied.
The sooner a sealant is applied, the better. For that reason, sealants are usually applied to the permanent molars and premolars as soon they erupt, which can continue until the age of 13 for some people. This is also a time in a child’s life when they are very susceptible to cavities. Older children and adults whose teeth are in good shape, or who may be at a particular risk for cavities may also be good candidates for dental sealants. Even with the dental sealants in place, brushing and flossing still need to be done, since sealants only protect the chewing surfaces of the teeth.
If you have a child whose permanent back teeth are coming in, it is time for a visit with our dentist, Dr. John Cloud. To make an appointment at Cloud Family Dental in Little Rock, Arkansas, call 501-868-3800 today. We’re excited to help your child and every member of your family get the best smile possible!