Dental Sealants are plastic coatings that are applied to the grooves and pits of teeth on the chewing surface. Grooves in back teeth can be so narrow that toothbrush bristles can't get inside them to clean them properly, but guess what does? Bacteria. Bacteria that cause tooth decay. By placing a plastic sealant coating in the groves of posterior teeth, we can prevent the most common cause of tooth decay in both kids and adults. Children should receive them on their permanent teeth as soon as they erupt, usually by age 6, 12 and 17. Anyone can have a dental sealant placed as long as there is no decay present, or a filling.
How are sealants applied? First the tooth is isolated with cotton rolls. The tooth is cleaned with pumice or air abrasion. Then the tooth is etched with a mild acid and rinsed and dried. The dental team then applies the liquid resin sealant with a brush, kind of like a nail polish brush, and covers all the grooves of the tooth. A bright LED light is shined on the tooth to make the material hard like a tooth. Sealants can last up to 5-10 years. Sealants are highly effective at preventing decay on the top of teeth. You still need to brush and floss to prevent cavities from developing in -between teeth and on smooth surfaces. Most insurance companies consider the procedure to be in the preventive category, and normally cover the cost between 80-100%.
FYI: Dr. Angela Hilton-Foley believes in preventative nature of dental sealants and has helped hundreds and hundreds of underprivileged kids in the Citrus County Public Schools by working on the Dental Sealant Bus in 2008, while awaiting the opening of her new office in Tampa.
An Ounce of Prevention...
If we can prevent gum disease or cavities or even catch small cavities and gum disease in their earliest stages, we can prevent the loss of teeth, prevent the need for major reconstruction of your teeth through root canal, crowns and large fillings, and conserve precious tooth structure.
Preventative measures that we employ include:
~ Placing dental sealants on all teeth that do not have decay present.
~ Early cavity detection and removal of early decay.
~ Cleanings at frequent intervals with proper screening for gum disease.
~ Fluoride treatments, both at home and in the office.
~ Digital x-rays allow the dentist to compare and contrast, and magnify.
Procedures which remove large amalgams and replace them with "more kind to your tooth restorations" like onlays, inlays, composite fillings or crowns, are often performed to reduce tooth fractures. At Designing Smiles, our ultimate goal is helping you achieve a beautiful, healthy smile that lasts a lifetime. Read below for more information on preventive measures that can be taken, which are simple and effective.
Flossing- Daily flossing is the best way to clean between your teeth. Believe it or not, floss covers more of your tooth than your toothbrush! That is, if you are properly wrapping the floss in a C-shape around your tooth and sliding it below the gum and wiping the side of your tooth between your tooth. Your toothbrush can only clean above the gum line, but dental floss gets below it, where the bacteria and plaque resides. Take 12-16 inches of dental floss and wrap it around your middle fingers, leaving about 2 inches of floss between the hands. Using your thumbs and forefingers to guide the floss, gently insert the floss between teeth, gliding it below the gum, gently. You do not want to see-saw it, just glide it up and down the length of the tooth. If you can't reach your back teeth, there are floss holders, and other dental aids that can help.
Rinsing- If you are not able to brush right away, rinse your mouth well with a good mouthwash. Occasionally prescription antibacterial/antiseptic rinses to help control periodontal disease and/or caries are needed. There are many different brands. Most important to note, our office prefers mouth rinses that do not contain alcohol.
Tongue Cleaners - Tongue cleaners remove the debris and bacteria from the back of tongue which may cause bad breath. They come in all different shapes and sizes.
FLUORIDE VARNISH, RINSE & FOAM
Fluoride is the most effective agent to help prevent tooth decay and sensitivity. It works in two ways. Topical Fluoride strengthens teeth after they have erupted by seeping into the outer enamel surface and making the tooth more resistant to decay. Fluoride is in toothpaste, rinses, and gels. Professionally applied fluoride, in the dentist's office, is recommended twice a year during your cleaning & check up appointment.
Fluoride Varnish is an in-office Rx that is applied to your teeth by the hygienist or dentist. It is especially therapeutic for adults or teens with very sensitive root surfaces. Once applied, the transparent gel coating keeps the fluoride on your teeth for an extended period of time, allowing it to work better at counteracting decay and sensitivity.
We recommend the use of professional in-office fluoride treatments for the following reasons:
Deep pits and fissure grooves
Sensitive, exposed, recessed root surfaces (adults)
Fair to poor oral hygiene habits
Frequent sugar and carbohydrate intake
Inadequate saliva flow due to medical conditions, treatments, or medications
History of dental decay
Call us to schedule your preventive visit.
Toothbrushing- Brush your teeth at least twice per day. The most important time to brush is before going to bed because during the night, plaque bacteria can build up and cause cavities and gum disease. To properly brush your teeth, place your toothbrush at a 45 degree angle to your gums. Brush the outside, inside and biting surfaces of your teeth, Making sure that you are brushing every tooth, individually. You should brush for a minimum of two minutes. It helps to have a timer or an electric toothbrush. Use the tip of your toothbrush at an u[right angle to brush the lower front teeth on the tongue side. Brush your tongue to remove bacteria, use a tongue scraper, to freshen your breath.
Cosmetic & Family Dentistry