Pits are the Pits — Seal Them

Sealants The word “pit” is one of those words that sound kind of sketchy. A pit doesn’t sound like a good thing, and in most cases it’s not. If something is the “pits” it’s far from good, right? And our “pits” are one area of the body that no one really likes when you think about it. Peach “pits?” Throw them away!

“Pits” in your molars aren’t any good, either. Usually due to genetics (if your Dad had deep fissures in his molars, you probably do too) some people simply have deep pits in their molars. And these pits are the pits! Food and bacteria can get caught down in them and become the perfect environment for decay. No matter how diligent you are with your toothbrush and floss, there’s no way you can get down into those pits.

So, why not have Dr. Miller seal them for you?

What are sealants?

One way to think of dental sealants is equating them with summer roadwork in Oregon. When we’re on our way to the coast or Portland, we’re likely to run into road crews either repaving or simply filling potholes with asphalt. Sealants do a similar job; they fill the potholes in our molars. Dr. Miller uses a strong resin or glass ionomer that is painted onto the chewing surfaces of the molars. The sealant is cured with a special light and fills in the depressions and grooves in the molars, bonding to the teeth and forming a protective shield on those teeth. Now, food can’t get down into the pits and attract bacteria.

Who needs sealants?

Dr. Miller recommends that most children and teenagers have sealants applied, even those with just moderate grooves in their teeth. This may seem like overkill, but it’s really just simple prevention. The ages from 6 to 14 are the most cavity-prone years and sealants can head off some of these potential cavities. Adults can also get sealants on their molars that haven’t developed any decay and are without fillings.

How are sealants applied?

Applying sealants is simple.

1.First, the teeth are thoroughly cleaned.
2.Each tooth to be sealed is dried.
3.An acid solution is put on the chewing surface of each molar to create a rougher surface for the sealant to bond to.
4.This is then rinsed and the teeth again dried.
5.Sealant is painted onto the tooth and a curing light is used to harden the sealant.

How long do sealants last?

Sealants usually last 10 years or so, but they can last far longer. The important thing is to have them on the teeth during the cavity prone years.

Sealants are one of the best forms of preventive dental care, and Dr. Miller is a big fan. Call us at 503-640-9310 to schedule your next appointment.

Posted in: Dental Sealants

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