We can be thankful we were endowed with molars to enable chewing. The word molar derives from the Latin words, molaris dens, meaning “Millstone tooth.” From the Latin, we understand that molar teeth are made to grind the food we eat. In order to facilitate that grinding process, each molar is created with a series of cusps, those raised points that give molars an uneven surface. We’re Lifetime Family Dental in Gilbert, AZ, and we specialize in helping you take care of your teeth and gums so they can stay strong and give you a lifetime of eating pleasure. And one of our simple, cost-effective procedures is applying dental sealants to help protect your powerful molars from decay.
Why Dental Sealants?
While those nooks and crannies on your molars are beneficial for helping to catch and grind food, they’re also a great place for harmful bacteria to gather afterward and settle in for an all-night party. And when bad bacteria sets up camp on your teeth, it can eventually turn to tartar and plaque, which leads to the formation of cavities.
To help prevent this harmful bacteria from being able to hang out on your molars, dentistry came up with the idea of covering the surfaces of those nooks and crannies with a sealant that effectively puts up a “No Partying” sign for the bad bacteria guys.
These days, with modern dental techniques, dental sealants are inexpensive, easy to apply, and safe to use. And when coating the surfaces of molars, they’ve been shown to reduce decay risk by almost 80%! School-age kids without sealants on their teeth have about three times more cavities than children with sealants.
How Dental Sealants Are Applied
- Your dentist will clean your teeth thoroughly, then dry them.
- A gel is placed on your teeth’s chewing surfaces. The function of the gel is to microscopically rough up the surface of the teeth in order to provide something for the sealant to cling to when forming a bond with your teeth. Then the gel is rinsed off.
- When your teeth have been dried, a thin layer of plastic is painted on the outside layer of the chewing surface.
- The plastic is cured by using a blue light with a specific wavelength that hardens the sealant.
It’s that easy!
Anyone can have sealants applied to their teeth, but they’re most beneficial for children and teens. The earlier sealants are used, the better! A child’s first molars appear around age 6, and their last set of molars appear around age 12. To prevent further damage, clear sealants can also be placed over teeth that show signs of early decay.
Sealants come in clear, white, and tinted colors, and they last for a few years before a simple reapplication is required. Though dental sealants give you a boost of extra protection, to keep all the hidden surfaces of your teeth clean, and to clean bacteria off your gums and tongue, you’ll still need to brush and floss daily as part of your usual dental hygiene routine. At Lifetime Family Dental in Gilbert, AZ, we want to give you the edge in beating dental decay so your teeth can stay healthy. Along with daily flossing and brushing, dental sealants—especially for kids and teens—are the best gift you can give to those molars that work so hard for you!