“Caulking” Up Trouble Spots

Lilly Family Dentistry Blog

Did you know that we “caulk” in grooves and fissures on the tooth surface? The chewing surfaces of back teeth are common areas where microscopic bacteria invade and destroy enamel often leading to cavities.  Since one bristle of a toothbrush is even too large to clean the area, “caulking” provides a barrier from the opportunistic and invading outside bacteria.  In dental terms, “caulking” is sealants.

Dental sealants help prevent decay deep in the grooves of the teeth.  This is one of the most common places that tooth decay develops.  Food, plaque, and bacteria cannot be removed from these grooves with regular brushing and flossing. Grooves can be so deep and microscopic that even a single toothbrush bristle cannot fit into it.  Children, teenagers, and adults can all benefit from sealants because you never outgrow the risk for developing cavities.

A dental sealant is a plastic material that is applied to a chewing surface of a tooth.  The sealant acts as a barrier, by “sealing out” plaque, bacteria, and food.  As long as the sealant remains intact, it will continue to protect the tooth from decay.  This time frame varies per individual, but a sealant can last several years!  Over time sealants can wear down under the force of everyday chewing and may need to be reapplied.  Discovering the need for replacement can be determined at routine visits.

Sealants are easy to apply and are one of the most cost effective procedures that can be done to protect a tooth from decay.  They can help you save time and money that would have been spent on restorative dental procedures. Sealants can be applied in just a few minutes for each tooth and patients do not need any anesthetic!  First, the grooves in the teeth to be sealed are thoroughly cleaned, dried, and prepared to accept the sealant.  A bonding material is applied, and then the sealant material is “painted on” the tooth.  A special blue light is used to cure and harden the sealant in place.  Sealants are usually clear or white and cannot be seen when you smile or talk.  Ask at your next visit if “caulking” is an option for any of your teeth! Don’t have a next visit set up?? No problem! Call us at 712-239-5125 today!