Fluoride and Sealants
Brushing and flossing your teeth every day are two essential habits for the prevention of serious oral health conditions, including cavities. Even with proper brushing and flossing, however, cavities can still develop. Cavities form as a result of tooth decay. Decay occurs when the acids produced by plaque and bacteria linger on the surfaces of your teeth. These acids erode your tooth enamel, eating away at it and leading to the formation of small pits in your enamel. At Sunnyside Dentistry, we can help you to further prevent the formation of cavities with fluoride and sealants.
Fluoride TreatmentsFluoride is an element that occurs naturally in your teeth. It is essential for strengthening the enamel of your teeth, allowing this protective outer layer to fight acids produced by harmful plaque and bacteria. While it exists naturally within your teeth, fluoride, along with other minerals such as calcium and phosphates, are leeched out. When this happens, your teeth become more vulnerable. This is a natural process called demineralization. These minerals can, and should, also be replaced. Fluoride can be replaced in some different ways. It is found in trace amounts in treated tap water. It can also be found in fluoridated oral care products such as toothpaste and mouthwash. As long as you replace as much fluoride as you have lost, your teeth remain decay free. However, if more fluoride is lost than replaced, this is when decay occurs.
While tap water and oral care products provide adequate fluoridation for many individuals, there are some who do not get enough. Some people are also more prone to cavities than others. To help you protect your teeth against cavity formation, we can provide fluoride treatments. Fluoride treatments are quick, simple, and painless. After cleaning your teeth, we apply a topical fluoride gel to the surfaces of your teeth. The fluoride absorbs directly into your tooth enamel, where it goes to work remineralizing your teeth. As it remineralizes your teeth, it provides your enamel with the strength it needs to effectively fight off acid attacks and preventing the formation of decay.
Protecting Molars with SealantsThe chewing surfaces of your molars are particularly susceptible to cavities. This is because they contain deep crevices that can easily trap bacteria and food particles. These areas are also difficult to completely clean with your toothbrush. We can help to protect these areas of your teeth from cavities with sealants.
Sealants are a quick and painless application. After cleaning your molars, we apply an acid etch to the treatment areas. The acid etch a rough texture on your teeth, which aids in enhancing the bond between the sealants and your molars. The acid etch washed off, and your teeth are dried. Next, the sealant material, which is made up of plastic, is applied to cover up the crevices on the chewing surfaces of your molars. Finally, we cure the material using a specialized light. Once cured, sealants begin providing you with immediate protection, preventing food particles and bacteria from getting trapped in the crevices. Despite being made from plastic, sealants are fairly strong and can withstand normal daily use.
Fluoride and dental sealants are treatments designed to help protect your teeth from the harmful effects of plaque and bacteria. For these treatments to be effective, however, they need to be used in conjunction with good oral hygiene practices. Call Sunnyside Dentistry at (503) 451-5104 today to find out if fluoride and sealants are right for you.