Tag Archives: Preventative Care

How Do Dental Sealants Work?

89683018Sealants, also known as dental sealants, are made out of a plastic material that’s placed on the molars and premolars for added protection against tooth decay.

The main reason why sealants are primarily placed on the permanent back teeth, or the molars and premolars, is that these teeth have fissures or grooves. These deep fissures or “pockets” can trap bacteria and food particles, as well as are difficult to clean. This combination makes the permanent back teeth vulnerable to tooth decay. Although using fluoride toothpaste and getting fluoride treatment at the dental office does help provide protection to all the surfaces of your teeth, your permanent back teeth need extra protection and that’s where dental sealants come in.

Dental sealants help make sure that the grooves and fissures are not at more of a risk for plaque buildup and tooth decay as your other teeth are.

Are dental sealants applicable only to the permanent back teeth?

Although dental sealants are usually placed on the premolar or molars, dental sealants can also be used on other permanent teeth, so long as they have grooves or pits.

In some children, for example, their baby teeth may also have grooves that could benefit from having dental sealants placed on them.

Are dental sealants exclusive to children?

No. While children are the ones who usually get dental sealants on their molars and premolars, adults too can sometimes have dental sealants placed on their back teeth. That is, if their teeth with grooves and fissures do not have fillings or dental sealants yet.

How are dental sealants placed?

The dentist first cleans the tooth surface thoroughly using a paste and rotating brush. Then, the dentist washes the tooth and lets it dry for a few seconds or minutes. The dentist then appliances an acidic solution on the grooves of the tooth’s chewing surface. The solution is left there for a few seconds before the dentist rinses it off. The use of the solution helps create small microscopic areas in the grooves and fissures, as well as fine rough surfaces. The rough surface and microscopic areas help the dentist attach the dental sealant to the tooth.

Once the tooth has completely dried up, the dentist places the dental sealant on the tooth. The sealant is then hardened using a light. Although some dentists may choose to use a two-component dental sealant that sets and hardens on its own.

Once done, your dentist will send you on your way and you can chew on your tooth again as you did before.

Dental sealants have been used to great effect since the 1970s. There are enough studies to show how dental sealants can help tremendously in lowering one’s risk for tooth decay, essentially preventing it on the chewing surfaces it’s applied to. Dental sealants have also been known to last for years, if not decades. Although if you want and if deemed necessary, the dentist can place a new dental sealant on your permanent back teeth.

While dental sealants and fluoride treatments tremendously help lower your risk for tooth decay and other dental problems, it’s still important to take proper care of your teeth at home and to visit the dentist regularly for checkups and professional cleaning.


Foods to Avoid for a Healthy Mouth | Indianapolis Cosmetic Dentist

multiple smilesMost people probably don’t look forward to their biannual rendezvous at the dentist’s. But the discomfort from the poking and scraping of routine cleanings is nothing compared to the pain of more intensive procedures, like fillings and root canals. So wouldn’t it be nice to seriously lower your chances of needing dental work with some strategic eating?

There are plenty of foods that people should be avoiding if they want to keep their teeth in good shape. But what’s not in your dentists kitchen?

Soda (even diet):

Your favorite sugary soda is a total smile saboteur.

Hard Candy:

Savoring a sweet sucker might seem innocent enough, but not so fast. Sucking these candies exposes your mouth to harsh sugars for longer periods of time. And chewing on them can break or crack teeth, fillings, and sealants.


Sure, ice is sugar-free—but if you tend to chew on the cubes once you’ve finished a beverage, they can cause major damage. Dental experts say nibbling on ice is a major no-no as it can easily crack or break teeth.

White Wine:

Sorry chardonnay fans. While the deep color of red wine can cause discoloration, white wine might actually trigger even more damage. The acidity in wine makes teeth more susceptible to stains, and white wine is generally more acidic.

Chewy Candy:

That dentists avoid taffy and caramels like the plague isn’t exactly surprising. Sticky candies get stuck between braces and teeth, allowing plaque to build up. Plus, a chewy candy in the wrong place at the wrong time can easily take a tooth out.


Noshing a pb&j is reminiscent of childhood, but it’s a surefire way to prematurely age your teeth. The high sugar content of all three ingredients means that as soon as you bite in, enamel-eroding bacteria go on a feeding frenzy. And because peanut butter and jelly are both sticky, they allow the bacteria to adhere to your teeth.

Dried Fruit:

Things like raisins, figs, and dried apricots are bursting with nutrition. Unfortunately, they’re also packed with a dense dose of sugar and non-soluble cellulose fiber, which can bind and trap those sugars around the tooth to the same extent as saltwater taffy. Your best bet? Sticking with the fresh version as much as possible(Source: prevention.com).

Keep your smile healthy with proper oral care and diet!

For more information and to make an appointment call, Dr. Kirtley at 317-841-1111 or visit his website smilesbygeorge.com

Dr. George Kirtley welcomes patients from Spring Hill, Beech Grove and Warren Park