Fluoride and Sealants
For patients who have developing teeth (children) or patients with high levels of the bacteria that cause cavities, fluoride provides an excellent barrier to help prevent decay. Fluoride is present in city drinking water, toothpastes, and is placed on teeth during dental cleanings. It interacts with the enamel (the outer layer of teeth) and helps protect the tooth from the bacteria that cause decay. We recommend that children have a professional fluoride treatment twice per year at dental check-ups. Fluoride can also be beneficial for patients who have sensitivity issues or dry mouth (xerostomia). We may recommend home fluoride treatments for these patients.
It is important to remember that fluoride alone will not prevent tooth decay. Excellent homecare consisting of brushing 2-3 times per day and flossing daily is just as important to maintaining good dental health.
Sealants are a wonderful preventative technique to help prevent tooth decay. Sealants are an easily applied plastic layer on the top surface of teeth. They fill in deep pits and grooves and prevent food from getting caught and causing tooth decay. Most tooth decay begins on the occlusal (top) surfaces of teeth. Sealants dramatically help to prevent decay from starting.
Typically sealants are placed on permanent molars once they are fully erupted. There are patients whose dental anatomy on other permanent or primary (baby) teeth would benefit from sealants due to deep pits and grooves. If you would benefit from sealants, we will discuss it with you.
Sealants are placed non-invasively. A gel to clean the pits and grooves is used before application of the sealant. The teeth are then rinsed and dried off. While they are dry, the sealant material is placed on the tooth and hardened with a dental curing light.