An underappreciated, simple, fast, and inexpensive way to protect teeth is to cover them with a dental sealant. This is a thin plastic-based, tooth-colored coating that is most often used for children 6-14, the most cavity-prone years, which is why it is usually covered by insurance. According to WebMD, it is appropriate to use for baby teeth that have deep depressions that would make them vulnerable to cavities or loss, which could cause problems for the spacing of the permanent teeth when they grow in.
It is generally used on the biting surfaces of the back teeth, the molars and premolars, which are the teeth used to grind up and chew foods and often suffer a lot of damage. Sealants prevent food particles from getting into grooves that result from this process, which would otherwise cause cavities and start the process of periodontal infection that could lead to tooth loss.
More adults are also realizing that dental sealants can play an important role in their oral health. Those who grind their teeth at night (a condition known as bruxism) benefit from this protection (and you can ask Dr. Gutierrez about a personalized mouthguard to wear while you sleep to prevent further damage).
The process is pain-free and requires no anesthesia. Your dentist can evaluate your needs or those of your children, cleans the teeth to be treated, an absorbent material is placed around these teeth, an acid solution is used to etch the surface to increase bonding, the teeth are rinsed and dried, then the sealant is painted on. It is hardened with a laser or ultraviolet life.
Dental sealants can protect teeth from cavities and cracking for up to 10 years, but need to be periodically checked and often are recoated every few years.
Serving the Redondo Beach, Manhattan Beach, Torrance, Marina Del Rey, South Bay, and Los Angeles area, Dr. Gutierrez and his team can assess how much dental sealants can help you and your family keep your smile in excellent shape. Call us today to schedule an appointment.