According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) children without dental sealants have approximately three times more cavities than those who invest in sealants. This preventative procedure protects molars (back teeth) from the harmful bacteria that cause cavities. Knoxville general dentist Dr. Ruth Bailey recommends dental sealants for adolescent and adult patients. This treatment is ideal for children who have yet to form good oral hygiene habits. However, Dr. Bailey can apply sealants to adult teeth. Sealants are placed over teeth that are hard to clean with routine brushing and flossing. This procedure shouldn’t be used in place of regular oral home care, but in addition to it.

Are you ready to protect your family’s teeth with dental sealants? Call 865-588-1294 today to schedule an appointment in Knoxville, TN with general dentist Dr. Bailey.

What Causes Cavities?

Harmful bacteria eat the simple sugars in sugary foods and drinks, producing acid as a result. This acid is responsible for eroding tooth enamel. Cavities (or holes) are formed because of acid erosion and bacteria.

So, how will you know if you’ve formed a cavity? Regular dental checkups with Dr. Bailey are the best way to determine the presence of cavities. She often detects a cavity before you begin experiencing symptoms. Bad breath is a common indicator that you may have a cavity.

Other symptoms include:

  • Tooth pain
  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Bad taste in mouth
  • Discoloration
  • Pus

If you experience any of these symptoms, schedule an appointment with general dentist Dr. Bailey to determine if dental sealants are appropriate for you.

What Are Dental Sealants?

After determining that dental sealants are ideal for your unique situation, Dr. Bailey will clean and dry your molars. She will apply an acidic gel to the teeth. This gel roughens up the surface of teeth so that a strong bond can form between the teeth and sealant material. Dr. Bailey will then rinse the gel off, dry the teeth, and apply the plastic material onto tooth grooves and ridges. The plastic material is hardened with a special light to create a strong, protective coating.

After the procedure is completed, Dr. Bailey will instruct you on how to properly care for your newly sealed teeth. With proper care, you can expect your dental sealants to last ten years or more. It’s important to attend biannual checkups and cleanings so that Dr. Bailey can inspect the sealants and make sure they’re functioning properly.

Dental sealants from a barrier over the surface of teeth to block out bacteria and acid. There is no known side effect of this procedure, unless you have an allergy to the plastic material used. Dr. Bailey will ask about allergies before recommending this treatment.

Cavity Prevention

The most beneficial way to deter cavities is to attend a dental checkup and cleaning with Dr. Bailey every six months. At your checkup, she will examine your teeth for decay, cavities, gum disease, and other damages. One of our friendly dental hygienists will clean your teeth to remove plaque and tartar. After your professional cleaning, your smile will appear shiny and radiant.

Along with routine office visits, there are some things that can be done at home to prevent cavities. Dr. Bailey recommends limiting sugary foods and drinks. If you do consume these products, brush your teeth or rinse with clean water afterwards. Each morning and night, you should brush your teeth with a fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride strengthens enamel. Flossing should immediate follow brushing.

In addition to brushing and flossing, it’s beneficial to rinse with an antibacterial mouthwash every day. Antibacterial mouthwash kills harmful bacteria responsible for cavity formation.

Although it may seem counter-productive, chewing sugar-free gum can deter cavities. You may wonder how this is possible. Xyitol, an ingredient in sugar-free gum, inhibits the production of cavity-producing bacteria. For this method to be effective, xyitol must be the first ingredient listed in the gum.

If you’re interested in learning more about dental sealants and cavity prevention, schedule an appointment with Dr. Bailey. Call 865-588-1294 to speak with a member of our Knoxville, TN team. We look forward to hearing from you!

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