Dental Sealants Prevent Cavities for All

Posted by: Jason Hui, DDS, on August 15, 2013

The Paragon Dentistry Team believes prevention is the key to optimal dental health. The chewing surfaces of all of our back teeth (premolars and molars) have depressions (grooves) that readily trap bacteria (Figure 1). Further, the more grooves that exist, the more surface area there is for bacteria to colonize on. As discussed in a prior post on the cavity formation process, bacteria break down sugars from our diet to form an acid byproduct that is responsible for cavities (holes) in our teeth. In addition to excellent oral hygiene with brushing and flossing, dental sealants also play a vital role in cavity prevention.

Tooth with Deep Grooves

Figure 1. This image depicts a molar with deep grooves on the chewing surface of the tooth. Bacteria can readily colonize in these grooves to cause cavities.

Dental sealants are a treatment that involves cleaning the tooth thoroughly and then flowing a white liquid material into all the grooves of the chewing surface. A light will then activate this material to induce polymerization into a hard, plastic coating that eliminates the grooves and encourages a smooth chewing surface (Figure 2). By sealing off the grooves (which is where the majority of cavities occur), bacteria is unable to colonize on the tooth itself to form cavities.

Dental Sealant in North Plano, TX

Figure 2. This image reflects a dental sealant covering all the grooves of a molar. As visible, bacteria can no longer colonize in the grooves of the tooth, but instead, sits on the inanimate sealant material where it cannot cause any tooth destruction.

Most insurances cover sealants for kids, but not adults. This, however, does not mean sealants are only beneficial for kids. Regardless of what insurances decide they want to cover, sealants benefit people of all ages, especially those who are at high risk for getting cavities. Drs. Jason and Nelson Hui invite everyone to take an active role in cavity prevention; contact us for more information regarding this conservative dental treatment!

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