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Sealing out dental decay

While cavity prevention starts with a healthy diet, brushing twice a day, daily flossing, and regular dental checkups, sealants can offer additional protection against tooth decay. Sealants are thin, plastic coatings painted on the chewing surfaces of the back teeth (premolars and molars). This clear, plastic coating bonds into the depressions and grooves (pits and fissures) of the chewing surface effectively sealing out the decay-causing bacteria, and reducing the risk of cavities and tooth decay.

Here's how it's done
The application of sealants is easy, painless, and takes only a few minutes to complete. First, the tooth is thoroughly cleaned and then etched with a solution to help the sealant adhere to the tooth. The sealant is then 'painted' onto the pits and fissures, where it bonds directly or is hardened with a high-intensity light. Sealants usually last several years before a reapplication is required. Your dentist will monitor your sealants during your regular checkup.

Although children and teenagers will benefit most because they have the highest incidence of pit and fissure decay, adults with difficult to clean molars or wisdom teeth may benefit, as well. Ask your dentist if sealants can help with your preventive care.

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