The teeth, although they belong in one group, look different from each other, especially if you will look at them from the bottom or top. The first four to six teeth from the front (called incisors and canines) look like sharp wedges, perfect for cutting food. The next two pairs, called pre-molars, look a little cylindrical with a sharp point, and help in breaking down food into smaller pieces. The last three pairs, known as the molars, look like cubes with deep grooves or fissures and are the main teeth that you use for chewing food before you swallow it. With this, though, the chewing surfaces of the molars are often exposed to food particles that may accumulate in the tiny fissures along the grooves. These fissures are so tiny that even a regular toothbrush cannot clean them. Thus, the stuck food particles develop bacteria, become plaque, and destroy the middle section of the molars. This is one of the most common reasons why the molar teeth get impacted.
To prevent plaque buildup in the molars' deep and narrow grooves and fissures, dental sealants can be applied. Sealants are tiny plastic coatings used in dental offices in Laurel MD to cover the narrow fissures and the grooved section of the molars, and protect them from plaque buildup and tooth decay. They can be compared to dental fillings, except that they are applied on the molar's natural fissures and grooves.
Molars usually come out in full bloom during one's pre-adolescent stage, so children and young teens are the best candidates for dental sealants since their molars are still fresh and damage-free. There are some adults who opt for sealants as well, but it is not common. Dentists strongly recommend to have the molar teeth (and, if needed, the pre-molars as well) covered with sealant the moment they are fully erupted to prevent them from decaying.
Applying sealant is a quick and easy procedure. The dentist will first clean and dry the molar. A special gel will then be applied on the surface of the molar, which will help the sealant from sticking onto the molar. The gel will be rinsed off and the molar will be dried before the dentist spread small amounts of sealant on the chewing surface of the molar.
Sealants are made of composite resin, and could either be clear, whitish, or slightly pinkish in color. Once the grooves and fissures are completely sealed, the dentist will shine a curing light or a dental laser on the molar to harden the sealant.
Just like any other dental procedure, it is important that the patient maintains the cleanliness of the sealant by frequent brushing and mouth rinsing to retain its strength. With proper care and maintenance, as well as regular visit to the dentist, sealants can stay intact on the teeth for as long as 5 to 7 years.
Do not wait until it is too late. Protect healthy molars, prevent unwanted bacteria and plaque buildup, and prolong the lifespan of those mighty molars with dental sealants!