Sealants & Fluoride
Cavities affect the teeth of millions of individuals, both children, and adults alike. They are the result of tooth decay, which is caused by erosion from the acids produced by plaque and bacteria, as well as the acids from certain types of foods and beverages. These acids eat away at the protective enamel layer of your teeth, causing weak spots to form. These weak spots eventually become small pits, or cavities. Without treatment, cavities grow larger and larger, compromising the structural integrity of the affected teeth. Cavities can even grow into the inner layers of your teeth, where bacteria can enter inside causing an infection. At Jillian Prather Family Dentistry, we can help you to prevent cavities from forming with sealants and fluoride.
SealantsSome areas of your teeth are more difficult to clean than others. One of these areas is the chewing surfaces of your molars. These surfaces have cusps and deep crevices. The crevices can easily trap food particles and bacteria. It can be difficult to completely clean them out, even with regular brushing. As a result, these areas are more vulnerable to the development of tooth decay and cavities.
Sealants are a treatment designed to protect these spaces of your teeth. With sealants, we apply a synthetic material made up of plastic to the chewing surfaces of your molars, effectively covering over the deep crevices. This treatment helps to prevent food particles and bacteria from getting trapped while also making your teeth easier to keep clean.
Getting sealants is a simple procedure that can be performed in a single visit. Before receiving sealants, any existing tooth decay and cavities will need to be treated. When we place sealants, we first thoroughly clean your teeth. We then apply an acid etch, which creates a rough texture on the tooth enamel to enhance the bond between sealants and teeth. After the acid etch is washed off, the sealant material is then applied and dried using a special light. Once dried, your teeth are provided with immediate protection.
FluorideFluoride is a mineral that occurs naturally in your teeth. It is an essential element in protecting the enamel against the acid attacks of plaque and bacteria. Every day, fluoride is lost through a natural process called demineralization. It can also be replaced through remineralization. There are many sources of fluoride, including treated tap water and fluoridated oral care products. So long as the amount of fluoride replaced is equal to the amount of fluoride lost, your teeth will remain healthy. If there is more demineralization than remineralization, this is when decay occurs.
For many people, the readily available sources of fluoride are enough to help keep the teeth healthy. However, some individuals are more prone to decay and cavities than others. To help you protect your teeth, we can provide you with fluoride treatments. While generally applied during your regular cleanings and exams, fluoride treatments can be applied at any time to help you fight decay and cavities.
Fluoride treatments are quick and simple. After your teeth are cleaned, we apply a fluoride gel to the surfaces of your teeth. There is no need to wash off or remove the gel. The fluoride is absorbed directly into your tooth enamel. It is recommended that you wait at least 30 minutes before eating or drinking anything for optimal results. With fluoride treatments, your teeth are provided with an additional layer of protection against the acid attacks from plaque and bacteria.
Both sealants and fluoride treatments, when combined with good oral hygiene practices, can help to protect your teeth from developing tooth decay and cavities. For more information, and to find out if sealants and fluoride are right for you, call Jillian Prather Family Dentistry at (918) 401-9933 today.