Preventative dentistry for children is especially important. Keeping decay from starting in new permanent teeth can significantly reduce the need for more expensive dental care down the road. The most commonly used preventative measure is fluoride, but another simple procedure is equally important – dental sealants. Dental sealants are extremely thin coatings of a special plastic that are painted on the chewing surfaces of the back teeth. These back teeth are treated with sealants because they have very deep anatomy (fissures and grooves) that collect food even with proper brushing. As debris collects in these fissures and grooves, tooth decay begins, but when properly sealed, these teeth can remain healthy and cavity free for years. The procedure is completely painless and non-invasive. The tooth surface is thoroughly cleaned and etched with a mild solution. A special tooth-colored resin is bonded to the chewing surface of the tooth using a laser light. This curing technique creates an extremely hard, durable surface that will remain in place for years. While dental sealants are normally used in children who have just gotten their permanent teeth, they can also prove useful in some older patients. Teenagers or adults with poor oral hygiene habits and a diet of sugary foods are also candidates for this preventative dentistry treatment. Once dental sealants have been placed, it is still very important to continue good brushing and flossing. The sealant only protects the biting surface of the tooth, and decay can easily start between teeth without proper cleaning. Regular visits to the dental hygienist for cleanings and fluoride treatment help prevent future problems. If you are interested in preventative dental services such as dental sealants, please contact our Glendale cosmetic dentist today. Dr. Wilcox serves patients in the Phoenix, Glendale, Peoria, and Scottsdale, Arizona areas.