The chewing surfaces of back teeth, like the molars and premolars, have grooves that are difficult to clean properly with brushing, and tend to be susceptible to germs and stubborn food particles, leading to tooth decay. As the resulting cavities and required fillings weaken the tooth, preventing this damage in the first place is the ideal solution.
Enter dental sealants. Sealants are a thin plastic coating that can be applied on these surfaces in order to create a protective layer over the enamel of the tooth. The sealants quickly bond with the surface of the tooth to provide up to ten years of protection. Clear, white, or slightly tinted, sealants usually aren't apparent to anyone while talking are smiling.
For children who have just gotten their permanent molars and premolars, sealants can protect their teeth through their most cavity-prone years (typically ages six to fourteen). Adults with molars free from decay or fillings can benefit from sealants as well, as the procedure for applying them is less expensive, and typically involves less discomfort, than having a tooth filled.
While they do protect parts of the teeth that toothbrushes have difficulty reaching, dental sealants do not replace fluoride entirely. Found in toothpaste, mouth rinse and tap water, fluorides work with sealants to help prevent tooth decay. Regular dental checkups are always recommended, and provide Dr. Florian with a good opportunity to check your sealants for chipping or wearing.