Cavities are a big problem for children, adolescents, and even young children who still have their baby teeth. Cavities can cause aches and pains while increasing the risk of oral infections that can cause even more problems.
This is why it is never too early to start preventing cavities in your child.
Of course brushing, flossing, and limiting sugar intake are fundamental to any cavity prevention program, but another effective option that more people are learning about are dental sealants. By understanding what dental sealants are and how they work, you can decide if they are right for your child as part of a comprehensive cavity prevention program.
To help, the caring and dedicated team at AC Pediatric Dentistry is happy to share the following informative guide.
What Are Dental Sealants?
Dental sealants, or tooth sealants, are plastic coatings that protect the chewing surfaces of teeth from microscopic organisms and plaque that cause tooth decay. These are commonly applied to the grooves of the back teeth, particularly premolars and molars, which are most prone to cavities.
According to both the American Dental Association and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), dental sealants have been shown to reduce the risk of decay in molars by nearly 80%. While there is no substitute for brushing and flossing, dental sealants can be a great additional tool for cavity prevention in children with baby teeth and adult teeth.
How Do Dental Sealants Work?
Dental sealants are made of smooth plastic and basically act as a raincoat for the teeth. In our mouths, bacteria like to feed off of food particles that stick to the surface of the teeth. As a byproduct, they create acid that can start to eat through the enamel and other layers of the teeth, causing cavities.
When dental sealants have been applied, it prevents food particles from sticking to the teeth. This in turn deprives bacteria of their food source, while further protecting your teeth from acids and other substances that can demineralize the enamel. Although cavities can develop anywhere, dental sealants are most effective in high risk areas such as the back teeth.
Who Needs Dental Sealants?
Dental sealants are a great preventive measure for any child, adolescent, or adult looking to avoid cavities. Whether a patient has been identified as at risk for cavities, has early signs of tooth decay, or has dealt with cavities in the past, dental sealants can be a great option. Even children with healthy checkups and dental records can benefit from the application of protective dental sealants.
In fact, the earlier you can get sealants, the better. The first molars begin to break through at a young age, and sealing them from the beginning can help anyone stay cavity free right from the outset. Sealants can also be applied over some cavities to prevent further damage after initial treatment.
Applying Dental Sealants
Applying dental sealants is a quick and easy process. The procedure usually involves the following steps:
- Your dentist cleans and dries the teeth that will be sealed
- He or she will then apply a gel that is designed to help bond the plastic coating to the teeth
- The sealant is then carefully applied on the area
- Your dentist then uses a special process to harden the sealant
The recovery process is minimal. Your dentist’s office will provide detailed instructions for care, including when to resume eating and what foods or drinks to avoid.
How Long Do Dental Sealants Last?
Dental sealants are generally safe and will last for as long as several years, particularly with good care and hygiene. Your dentist can check on their condition during regular dentist appointments.
If you are trying to keep your child’s mouth healthy and cavity free over the years, dental sealants can be an especially effective tool. Ask the caring professionals at AC Pediatric Dentistry if this option is right for your family. We have a wide range of early dental care methods that can be personalized for anyone’s needs, budget, and lifestyle.
From education and instruction on proper hygiene to preventative measures like fluoride treatment and dental sealants, we can help you create a holistic cavity prevention plan.
Keep Your Family’s Teeth Healthy with the Help of AC Pediatric Dentistry
Going to the dentist can be scary — we get it. But it should be fun! Whether it’s care for baby teeth, big kid teeth, oral surgery, or orthodontics, our team of specialized pediatric dentists make the experience memorable while teaching you how to encourage healthy habits and good hygiene for lifelong smiles. Call us today or request an appointment online. We can’t wait to meet you!