While thorough brushing and flossing can go a long way towards ensuring your dental health, it may not always be enough. Dr. Michael Bixby and his team provide dental sealants as a trusted method of preventative care at their Red Bank, NJ, dental practice. These thin plastic barriers can protect the teeth from decay and lay the foundations for a stronger smile.
Dental sealants help to minimize patients' risk of cavities by preventing harmful bacteria from attaching to the enamel. These coatings are usually placed on the back teeth, which are particularly vulnerable to decay. Because food and bacteria can easily become caught in the deep fissures on these teeth, our molars and premolars create an ideal environment for developing cavities.
Dental sealants can simply be painted onto the back teeth.
While a good dental hygiene routine is often enough to keep these teeth healthy, some patients are more vulnerable than others. Children are particularly at risk. In order to ensure a healthy foundation for sustained oral health into adulthood, Dr. Bixby will often recommend dental sealants for young patients. In rare cases, he may also recommend them to adults who are also more prone to developing cavities.
Applying a dental sealant to one or more teeth does not typically take much time. In most cases, Dr. Bixby can place sealants during your child’s regular examination and cleaning. In fact, this is an ideal time to perform the procedure since the teeth must be as clean as possible to ensure that no bacteria are trapped underneath the sealant material.
Dental sealants serve as an additional layer of defense against cavities for vulnerable patients.
Once the entire mouth has been cleaned, Dr. Bixby or a member of his team can apply a weak acidic solution directly to the surface of the teeth that will receive the sealants. By roughening up the enamel, this solution creates more surface area for the sealant to attach to. We can then directly apply the sealant as a liquid. While we will harden the liquid with a special light, we still usually recommend that patients wait at least 30 minutes before eating or drinking to ensure that the material will remain firmly in place. Depending on the type of material used, the sealant may appear clear, white, or slightly tinted. With proper care, a sealant can last five to 10 years.
It is important to keep in mind that dental sealants alone are not guaranteed protection against decay and cavities: they are only one tool in a larger arsenal. Consequently, patients should still maintain a regular dental routine, both at-home and by attending regular professional cleanings. In addition to diligent brushing and flossing, fluoride can also help to fortify all of your children's teeth against decay.
Dental sealants can serve as an additional layer of defense against cavities for vulnerable patients. Reach out using our online form or call (732) 224-1160 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Bixby and his team.