Even though tooth decay is easily preventable, millions of children and adults in the U.S. suffer from tooth decay. About half of all children entering high school have had one or more cavities. Eating a good diet, regular brushing and flossing, and scheduling teeth cleanings and routine examinations twice a year will go a long way toward preventing tooth decay.
Applying dental sealants is another excellent way to prevent cavities, yet only about one third of children in America have dental sealants. Dental sealants are a thin plastic coating applied to the surface of the teeth to protect the tooth enamel from harmful plaque and bacteria. Sealants are inexpensive and easily applied by your dentist usually following a routine cleaning.
Teeth sealing has proven not only to be an effective method of preventing tooth decay, but also to stop the progression of early tooth decay before it becomes necessary to treat the decay with a filling.
Dental sealants are usually applied to the chewing surface of the molars which are the most common location for tooth decay in children. The procedure only takes a few minutes and involves no discomfort or drilling. After your teeth are cleaned, your dentist will apply a solution that prepares the tooth for the sealant. The sealant is then painted on the tooth and allowed to harden for a few minutes.
Sealants typically last five to ten years, but will need to be re-applied if the sealed tooth is replaced by an adult tooth. Your dentist will check the condition of the sealant during regular check-ups and re-apply the sealant as needed.
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