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Each of your teeth has an important job to do. In the case of your back teeth, which are known as your molars and premolars, that job is to chew and grind your food to make it easier for you to swallow and digest. If you take a moment to look at those teeth, you will notice that they have ridges and grooves on the chewing surfaces. Those ridges and grooves make it possible for your teeth to do their jobs.

However, those same grooves and ridges provide places for food debris and plaque to accumulate, and for bacteria to breed. That of course can lead to tooth decay. However, dental sealants can protect those teeth.

Dental sealants are thin layers of plastic that are applied to your molars and premolars. That layer of plastic provides an extra layer of protection between your tooth enamel and the substances that can harm it.

To apply a dental sealant, the dentist will wash and dry the tooth thoroughly. Afterward, he will use an acid solution to slightly roughen the surface of the tooth to help the sealant adhere to it. After that solution is rinsed off, the sealant will be applied. It will either be allowed to harden or it will be cured with a special light.

Sealants are most effective when they are applied to the molars and premolars as soon as they erupt. While children usually receive sealants, older children or adults whose back teeth are healthy, or who may be at an increased risk of cavities may benefit from them as well.

Even though dental sealants can help protect your teeth, remember that they are only applied to the chewing surfaces of your teeth – not the sides. Even with dental sealants, you will still need to brush twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste, floss once a day, and see your dentist for your regular cleanings and exams.

If you are interested in dental sealants for your child or another member of your family, our dentist, Dr. Mandy Nicacio will be happy to help. To make an appointment at Hermiston Dental Group in Hermiston, Oregon, call 541-567-4143 today.