The power of preventive dental services: Sealants protect teeth from cavities and halt the decay process
Hoover Dental Center has a rich history of tailoring dental care to the unique needs of children. In fact, our dentist, Dr. HeeJee Yoon, formerly worked in a dental office that catered exclusively to pediatric patients. As such, certain professional services and products are staples of preventive dentistry in childhood. These services include dental sealants; however, these thin coverings are appropriate for adult patients, too. As a practice in central Los Angeles, California, that partners with patients aged one to 100-plus, it is essential to have clinically-proven effective and safe tools to protect the beauty and health of evolving and aging smiles.
The chewing surfaces of the back teeth feature grooves, pits, and fissures. These uneven surfaces trap particles of food. This process contributes to the development of harmful bacterial plaque. The presence of plaque increases the risk of developing tooth decay. Dental decay can present as eroded areas of the tooth or holes or cavities. To aid in keeping these decay-prone molars and premolars healthy, Dr. Yoon may apply dental sealants to these tooth surfaces. Sealants are applied quickly, easily, painlessly, safely, and affordably during routine appointments. The sealant is generally painted on with a special brush. The sealant then oozes into the grooves and uneven surfaces of these teeth. Made from safe plastics and other dental materials, sealants effectively penetrate and seal these treated areas. Think of dental sealants as a “raincoat” for your teeth. When foods and bacteria make contact with the teeth, they cannot stick or become trapped in tight nooks and crannies. The harmful substances merely slide off or can be easily brushed or flossed away.
Dr. Yoon assures a secure bond between the dry, clean tooth and the sealant material by hardening it with a specialized “curing” light. We will further monitor the sealants for damage that requires repair during routine check-ups. Generally, though, sealants are made to last a long time.
So, sealants are a hassle-free, no-stress, and tissue-preserving way to prevent one of the leading causes of tooth loss: dental decay. In fact, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that school-aged children with sealants are three times less likely to develop cavities than their peers whose teeth have not been treated with sealants. Additionally, sealants are considered a “secondary” form of prevention; they can inhibit the progression of existing tooth decay. Initial enamel erosion, for instance, can be effectively resolved or halted, and its effects may even be reversed. The process is not allowed to continue unabated, which prevents cavities and further, more extensive damage to the teeth. Call (insert phone number here) to schedule an appointment with Dr. Yoon at Hoover Dental Center, located in central L.A. between Venice and West Washington Boulevard on South Hoover Street. We are happy to address any concerns or questions that you may have about sealants, including if they are appropriate for sensitive teeth. If anything, sealants ease sensitivity by resolving the potential root causes of such discomfort (enamel erosion). Also, such preventive services are a cost-effective alternative to restorative dentistry. They are often 100% covered by dental insurance plans.