Protecting teeth from cavities is an important part oral hygiene, and in many cases, good oral hygiene at home isn’t enough.
While regular brushing, flossing, and rinsing are strongly encouraged by the American Dental Association, there are still places that these methods can’t clear of bacteria.
Bacteria tend to collect in two main places: around the roots of teeth, and in the crevices atop them. The crevices on top of teeth are often completely normal, and they are used to grind food into more manageable sizes. The rough valleys in molars especially are havens for bacteria.
Because of how these valleys form in order to grind food, there are a lot of places where bacteria can gather that a toothbrush cannot go.
In order to combat this, teeth may need to be sealed.
Sealants are most commonly used on the molars, which have a very rough surface. They can, however, be used on other teeth that have an abnormal valley or a change in shape somewhere.
The sealant is a harmless composite resin. The resin is very similar to plastic, but is BPA free.
The primary purpose of the resin is to fill in the grooves of the molars and other teeth that have grooves or pits.
Fortunately, this does not adversely affect how well the tooth performs. Instead, by filling these grooves, the upper surface of the tooth becomes smoother, which makes it much easier to clean with toothbrushes and rinses.
The smooth surface makes it very difficult for bacteria to cling to the teeth and be able to grow.
Pediatric Benefits of Sealing
Dental sealants are particularly useful in pediatric dentistry as they notably slow the accumulation of bacteria in the mouth for children.
Given the sheer number of junk foods, including sodas, candy, and chocolate, among others, it can be very easy to develop a cavity in a child’s tooth. Sealants help prevent cavities by filling in the areas of teeth most likely to get a cavity.
The process of applying a sealant is completely painless and requires no sedation, but sedation dentistry is an option for children who are nervous about the visit. As a pediatric dentist in Houston, our office is highly focused on cavity prevention and proper oral development in children. We not only use smaller equipment for a more comfortable experience but work closely with parents to train children in healthy dental habits.
If bacteria are allowed to collect on a tooth, it will eventually begin damaging it. The bacteria will deteriorate the mineral layers that protect the tooth before reaching the enamel and eventually the dentin and dental pulp.
If this occurs, your local Houston dentist will need to remove the bacteria and clear out the decayed portions of the tooth.
This is usually completed using a drill, laser, or air abrasion instrument. These tools remove sections of teeth that will later be filled.
The filling itself may take one of several forms, depending on a few factors.
- Silver Amalgam
- Composite Resin
These fillings are all dependent upon the location and severity of the tooth decay, as well as the patient’s desire to pay for a certain type of filling.
Natural looking fillings are generally more expensive, as are fillings that are very durable. Still, it is important to consider the cost as well as how well the filling will perform in strengthening the teeth, as well as its appearance in the mouth.
Resin fillings, while very natural looking, can take some extra time to apply as opposed to a porcelain or metal filling.
These fillings need to be applied in layers and cured before applying each successive layer. Curing a layer just involves letting it dry and harden.