How do sealants prevent decay?

How do sealants prevent decay?

Let’s start by explaining WHY a tooth might benefit from a sealant.  The natural cracks and crevices in our back molars are a part of what makes them so adept at chewing and grinding the foods that we eat.  We would have trouble enjoying a juicy steak without our molars.  Their very structure however also make the molars more vulnerable for having food particles getting caught in the grooves, nooks,  and crannies of the tooth’s surface.  Also, very often these grooves don’t fuse together properly when the enamel forms, leaving microscopic holes leading to the inside of the tooth.  These holes are much smaller than a toothbrush bristle, making them impossible to clean.  Sugar from the foods you eat get stuck in these grooves and holes, bacteria feeds on them, and cavities are the result.

Dental sealants close off these holes in the molars.  Although they are more commonly thought of as a measure of prevention for childhood cavities, adults can benefit from the protection as well.  No matter how vigilant we are about brushing twice a day and flossing regularly we won’t be able to reach every part of every tooth.  Adult molars that have so far escaped tooth decay are good candidates for dental sealants, especially if you have deep, stained grooves, or have experienced decay on other teeth.

How is a sealant applied?  Traditionally, sealants have been applied to the tooth by the hygienist after polishing the surface of the tooth.  However, after years of observing failing sealants, we developed a new sealant technique with virtually 100% success.  At Dayspring Laser Dentistry, the sealants are done by the doctors, not the hygienist.  Why?  Two important reasons:

#1- The bonding process involved with our sealant technique is the same as our fillings.  Since the doctors are the ones that do hundreds and hundreds of fillings per year, proper bonding protocols are second nature to us.

#2- Our specific sealant technique can ONLY be performed by a dentist.  Why?  It is because the secret to our successful technique involves using the laser on low power to open the holes in the grooves and clean out the plaque, bacteria, stain, and early decay.  Many times there is decay starting in the grooves that can’t be seen until they are opened up.  Sealing over them will just allow them to continue to grow.  In addition, the moisture found in the early decay, plaque, and stain will interfere with the bonding process resulting in a leaking sealant which is actually worse than no sealant at all, because it holds in the sugar and bacteria. There is no discomfort at all with this procedure.

Basically, what we are doing is a micro-filling, which removes all existing bacteria and debris, and completely seals off the groove, preventing decay.  We are so confident in our technique that we guarantee the sealant against decay for 5 years.  I just saw the first patient we used this technique on (almost 12 years ago) for a check-up about a month ago.  Her sealants are still bonded and decay free!

Our goal here at Dayspring Laser Dentistry is to take every advantage of laser technology to improve your care.

Call Dayspring @ 856-875-8400 to schedule your appointment.

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