Dental sealants are used to protect the chewing surfaces of back teeth from decay. They are acrylic-like substances which create a barrier against the bacteria which are always in the mouth and always depositing acid excretions on the teeth and gums.
Sealants bond to the tooth enamel and cover all the tiny fissures and pits where bacteria would otherwise settle and thrive. These are the places where over 75 percent of dental decay begins.
How Sealants Are Applied
It is a short and painless procedure. First a special solution is applied to the tooth surfaces to prepare the enamel for bonding strongly to the sealant. Then the teeth are rinsed and dried. The sealant is applied and hardened with an ultraviolet light. It may be applied to a single tooth or to many.
At Winterholler Dentistry, we use sealants for patients who are particularly vulnerable to tooth decay. We often recommend them for children at the age when the first permanent teeth are starting to appear. A factor in our decision to use a sealant is how the person’s teeth were shaped when they first formed below the gum, before they erupted.
Your dental sealant will last for many years, depending on your chewing pattern. When you come for your check-ups and professional cleaning we will also check the sealant and make sure it has not worn off in any places. Sometimes we will add a new layer of sealant or remove and replace the original sealant. This keeps the barrier against bacteria strong.
Sealant vs. Fluoride
Sealants and fluoride are both ways of protecting and preserving teeth by preventing bacterial decay. They are both effective.
- Sealants are applied topically.
- Fluoride can be ingested in fluoridated water or applied daily in toothpaste. A pregnant woman can begin with fluoride to help give her baby strong teeth, and it can be used through the teen years when cavities can so easily form unless steps are taken to prevent them. Once fluoride is absorbed by the tooth enamel, it is there permanently.
Good Daily Care Still Important
Use of a sealant or fluoride does not mean that daily brushing and flossing are less important. You should brush at least twice a day and floss every day. You will also do your teeth a great service if you eat a balanced diet with plenty of fresh food.
We urge you to come twice a year for routine check-ups and professional tooth cleaning. Combined with proper home care and regular dental visits, sealants are extremely effective in preventing tooth decay.
They will also potentially save you a lot of time in a dental chair later on, if your teeth start to require fillings, crowns, or even root canals. Those treatments can all be avoided by good ongoing care of your mouth.
When you have good dental health, cosmetic dentistry can give you its improvements and enhancements, because dental health is the basis for a beautiful smile. You can look at our Smile Gallery for the beautiful results some of our patients have achieved from such cosmetic dentistry procedures as Tooth Whitening and Porcelain Veneers.
Drs. Patrice and Chris Winterholler offer free consultations for new patients. To schedule one, please contact our cosmetic dentistry office today. We serve the areas of Scottsdale, Phoenix and Payson in Arizona and we look forward to meeting with you.
No more chrome or metal mouth. Tooth-colored filling material is used exclusively in our office rather than silver/mercury fillings, cast gold, or other un-esthetic dental materials. We have used only the highest quality tooth-colored filling material since our practice opened in 1998.
Many people who are undergoing a cosmetic improvement on their front teeth elect to have dark silver fillings in their back teeth replaced with the bonded tooth colored fillings provide a total cosmetic improvement.
For years there has been a debate in the dental profession regarding the pros and cons of silver amalgam fillings. While it has not been proven scientifically that mercury fillings can harm you, we have chosen not to use silver amalgam fillings because we believe there are much better alternatives.
Composite resin fillings as well as all porcelain inlays and onlays offer a better alternative to silver amalgam. Silver amalgam typically acts as a plug to fill the tooth. Tooth colored restorations bond and strengthen the tooth together due to their ability to bond to the enamel and dentin of the tooth. The tooth is restored rather than just plugged.
Types of Tooth-Colored Fillings
- Composite resin fillings can be placed in smaller fillings. They are highly aesthetic and function well. When placed properly, they can provide years of service to the tooth.
- All-porcelain tooth-colored fillings are placed in larger decayed areas. All-porcelain inlays and onlays are much stronger than composite restorations and often provide an alternative to a crown. Ceramic- and Zirconia-based restorations that offer unprecedented aesthetics and durability are the now the norm in our office.
We presently use a variety of biocompatible materials for your dental care. When metals or alloys must be used in your dental work, they are always nickel- and mercury-free.
Dr. Chris Winterholler was one of the first dentists in Arizona to purchase and incorporate the use of CEREC restorations in his office. His early adoption and current mastery of CEREC allows him compete your dental work of the utmost quality and strength in one easy office visit. Most restorations are made on site and are done without the use of impressions.
To schedule a free consultation in either of our offices serving Phoenix, Scottsdale and Payson, please send us an email or give us a call.