The range of treatments on offer at a modern dental clinic runs way beyond the pain prevention and emergency help with which such places used to be associated. A trip to the dentist today is likely to concern prevention or cosmetic enhancement as much as anything else, and may involve technologies at the leading edge of medical science. The fact, for example, that you can heal dental decay with tooth implants means that patients are far less likely to have their smile ruined than was once the case, and the carefully planned use of pit and fissure sealants will go a long way towards stopping decay occurring in the first place. How to Avoid Tooth Decay Of course, the best possible answer to tooth decay is to avoid excessive sugar and other damaging foodstuffs, maintain a strict oral hygiene regime and visit your dentist for regular check-ups. Having your teeth examined by a professional on a recurring basis will mean that any problems are noticed and dealt with before they become firmly entrenched. It should always be borne in mind that by the time the average person spots a problem with their teeth – through tooth ache for example, or because they can feel that damage has been done to the enamel – it will already have become more serious than need be the case. Dental Sealants Pit and Fissure Treatment The good news is that pit and fissure treatment can prevent decay in teeth, by covering the surface of the enamel in an ultra-thin but tough transparent plastic coating which then stops food particles, bacteria and other harmful substances from coming into contact with the surface of the patients’ teeth. Although it may feel smooth, the enamel of your teeth is actually covered in microscopic grooves (properly known as pits and fissures) and it is when substances become ledged in these grooves that problems can arise. The sealant is a barrier which stops this from happening, and it is applied to the teeth at the back of the mouth. These are the teeth with which you chew and break down your food and they are known as molars and pre molars, and the actual biting surface of such teeth is likely to contain pits and fissures. Your dentist will first examine your teeth closely to determine whether the grooves in these teeth are deep or large enough for the sealant to be a beneficial form of treatment. This will vary from patient to patient and indeed from individual tooth to tooth, with some having only shallow grooves which do not require sealing. The age at which sealant treatment is usually applied is that at which the first adult teeth start to come through, generally between 6 and 7 years of age, and the sealing can be ongoing as teeth continue to appear, usually up to the period between the ages of 11 and 14. The actual treatment itself is relatively quick and simple, and it only takes a few minutes to seal each individual tooth. The treatment begins with the tooth being thoroughly cleaned and then prepared via the application of a special solution and then the sealant, in liquid form, is applied to the tooth surface, where it flows to fill in any gaps. A special blue light will then be shined onto the sealant, causing it to set hard. The entire process is pain free and comfortable and your teeth will feel exactly the same afterwards. Once in place, dental sealant should last for many years, although it is vital that you return to your dentist on a regular basis to have the condition of the sealant checked. Over time, they may begin to wear a little, and if your dentist spots any wear and tear they may replace the sealant or add to it to fill the gap. Although the sealant will protect the surface of the tooth, it is still vital that patients keep their teeth clean by brushing regularly, and the newly smooth and sealed surface will actually be easier to keep clean than the natural enamel. It should be noted, also, that patients should use toothpaste which contains fluoride, as this will also help to protect the teeth from decay, particularly those which haven’t been sealed. If you feel that sealant may be suitable for your children’s teeth then ask your dentist and, after an examination, they will explain whether the treatment is appropriate, and exactly what it will entail.