By: Dr. Christopher Lim
Posted on: August 27, 2019
A dentist can merely respond to oral problems as they arise. Or he can take a proactive approach to help your family avoid dental problems and enjoy healthy, attractive smiles for a lifetime. Dr. Christopher Lim of Hillside Dental in Las Vegas takes the latter approach. One of the ways he keeps the mouths of child and adult patients well is with dental sealants.
How dental sealants help prevent cavities
The enamel that covers the visible portion of teeth is quite hard and durable. You might think the smooth surface is impermeable, but enamel actually has microscopic pits and fissures. Daily brushing and flossing is critical to fight tooth decay. However, tiny food particles and plaque can cling stubbornly to grooves in enamel where your brush cannot reach. A dental sealant is a liquid form of clear or tooth-colored plastic that is painted onto chewing surfaces of back teeth. Sealants coat these vulnerable areas to seal out cavities.
Who can benefit from dental sealants?
You’ve probably heard the term “cavity prone years.” It describes the increased risk of tooth decay for children and teens (ages six through 14) during the period of time when their teeth are rapidly developing. That’s why it is a good idea to have your child’s molars and premolars protected with sealant as soon as permanent teeth come in.
We now understand that baby teeth play an important role in the correct alignment of permanent teeth. They may also be good candidates for dental sealant, to reduce the risk of early extraction necessitated by tooth decay.
Since cavities can occur at any time of life, it is never too late to consider dental sealants. Teenagers and adults also benefit from the added protection.
The process is brief and totally painless. Clean teeth are dried, and cotton is placed in the vicinity to control saliva. An etching solution is applied to allow sealant to adhere to tooth enamel. After about a minute, teeth are rinsed and dried again, and the sealant is brushed onto chewing surfaces. In some cases, Dr. Lim uses a special light to help sealant harden more quickly.
That’s all there is to it! Sealant is invisible, and one treatment provides protection for up to ten years. Dr. Lim will check the condition of sealant at regular exams and let you know if replacement is needed.
This is just one way Dr. Lim and the Hillside Dental team look out for the oral health of your family. Call (702) 666-8584 to learn more about his style of preventive dentistry.