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Dental Sealants Offer Outstanding Protection Against Decay

Although all of your teeth can suffer decay, your back teeth are particularly susceptible to cavities. Food and bacteria can easily accumulate in the deep crevices on the top chewing surfaces. As the acid eats away at your dental enamel, cavities will form. Dental sealants at our Knoxville practice are one of the most effective ways to prevent decay in your molars. Dr. Stephen K. Malone or his associate will apply these thin plastic coatings, and they will form a protective shield for your teeth. Frequently a pediatric treatment, sealants can benefit adults, as well. To learn more about sealants, contact our office today.

The Importance of Sealants

Cavities develop when food and bacteria remain inside your mouth. Sugars and bacteria interact with one another to form acid, and the acid will erode your enamel. As the outer layers of your teeth begin to wear away, the bacteria will penetrate through the deeper layers, forming cavities. Decay is especially prevalent in the back teeth (premolars and molars). The deep fissures on the top chewing surfaces can easily trap food and bacteria. Even with routine brushing, tiny food particles will often lurk in these areas. Sealants form a barrier over the top of your teeth. Even if food remains trapped in these spaces, bacteria and acid will not be able to penetrate the lower levels of your teeth.

Applying Sealants

The sealant application process is quick and discomfort-free. First, Dr. Malone will thoroughly clean and dry your teeth. He will place cotton around the base of your teeth to keep them dry. Using a mild acid solution, he will lightly etch your teeth. The solution will create microscopic fissures, allowing the sealant to adhere more strongly. After cleaning and drying your teeth a second time, he will apply the sealant. The clear or tooth-colored plastic coating will dry quickly, creating a near-impenetrable barrier. In most cases, sealants can last 10 years or more. In many cases, Dr. Malone can reapply sealants if they start to wear off. At each routine exam, he will check to see if the coating is still intact.

Are You a Candidate for Sealants?

Dr. Malone and his associate, Dr. Dickenson, most frequently apply dental sealants on children’s teeth. They will typically recommend sealants as soon as young patient’s adult molars first come in. However, the treatment can benefit patients of all ages. If you are an adult with healthy teeth and no existing fillings, you may qualify for sealants. In some cases, Dr. Malone may recommend sealants for baby teeth. For example, if your child has unusually deep grooves in his or her teeth, sealants can reduce the higher risk for decay.

Protect Your Dental Health

Protecting your smile is easy and affordable. Contact Dr. Malone’s office to find out if sealants are right for you or your child. We proudly serve patients in the greater Knoxville area, including Powell, Karns, Farragut, Seymour, Maryville, and Oak Ridge.

For a textbook definition of dental sealants, read this article