What are sealants and fluoride treatments?
Sealants and fluoride varnishes are dental treatments that offer extra protection for cavity-prone patients. Cavities are formed when acids demineralize the tooth enamel, which is the process of minerals being pulled from the protective outer layer of the teeth and weakening it. Fluoride, which is added to many toothpastes, mouth rinses, and water supplies, helps strengthen weakened enamel. Professional fluoride treatments offer an even stronger dose of fluoride to help protect tooth enamel. In addition, Dr. Truong can place a physical barrier between the chewing surfaces of molars and enamel eating bacteria and acids, in the form of sealants, which are thin plastic coatings painted on the teeth and then hardened, for even more protection.
How do I know if I need sealants or fluoride treatments?
Fluoride treatments and sealants are commonly offered to children, as they are still working on developing good oral hygiene and may not clean their teeth thoroughly enough to prevent decay. However, these preventive dentistry treatments can be beneficial to adults with chronic dry mouth, or xerostomia. Saliva helps protect teeth against the acid erosion and oral bacteria responsible for cavities. Therefore, the lack of saliva experienced by xerostomia patients puts them at an increased risk for dental caries. Adults with arthritis, or other issues that limit mobility, may also have difficulty flossing or holding a toothbrush properly, and may benefit from the added protection of fluoride treatments or sealants. At your six-month exam, Dr. Truong can determine if you or your child are candidates for sealants and fluoride.
How are sealants applied to your teeth?
Your dentist will first clean and dry the molars so that the sealants will adhere optimally to the teeth. Then, the sealant will be painted in liquid form on the chewing surfaces of the back teeth. Dr. Truong will then shine a special light on the teeth to harden the sealant. In just minutes, you will have a protective shield on your most vulnerable teeth that lasts five to ten years.
How is a fluoride treatment administered?
Drs. Truong and Ngo administer fluoride treatments in the form of a thick varnish, which is designed to adhere to the tooth surface for several hours. After teeth are cleaned, dried, and isolated from the rest of the mouth, your dentist will paint the varnish on all exposed tooth surfaces. Available in great-tasting flavors so that the treatment is pleasant for children, fluoride varnishes are highly effective if applied twice a year.
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