Dental Sealants for Children
Just like you, your child needs to maintain a good oral hygiene routine to prevent serious oral health issues like cavities. However, most children tend to struggle with brushing and flossing. They may not perform these tasks as often as they should, or they may miss certain areas of the mouth when they do. A common trouble spot for many children, and even some adults, is the chewing surfaces of the molars. These areas have deep crevices, which are often inaccessible by toothbrush, where food particles can get stuck and bacteria can grow. At Tiny Teeth Pediatric Dentistry, we can help to protect these vulnerable teeth with sealants.
Cavities are caused by tooth decay. However, how does tooth decay occur? The mouth is filled with oral bacteria. While natural, they can be quite harmful. Bacteria thrive on the sugars that linger in the mouth. As they eat, they produce acids that begin to erode the enamel, the protective outer layer of the teeth. Erosion eventually leads to the formation of small pits or cavities. Cavities need to be treated. The longer they go ignored, the larger they become as bacteria continue to destroy the structure of the tooth. Untreated too long and the cavities can enter the inner layer of the teeth, leading to painful infections that require more invasive treatments.
What Exactly Are Sealants?
Sealants are a way to help your child prevent cavities on the chewing surfaces of the molars. The sealant itself is a synthetic application, made up of plastic and other materials. It is designed to cover the deep crevices of the molars, preventing food particles and bacteria from becoming lodged there. They also help to raise the surface of the molars, making them easier to keep clean.
A Quick, Painless Procedure
Applying sealants is a quick, painless procedure that can be done in a single visit. We start by cleaning and drying the teeth. Next, an acid etch is applied. The acid roughens up the teeth, creating a texture that helps the sealant material to adhere better. The teeth are then washed and dried again. We paint the sealants on to the teeth and finally dry the material using a specialized light.
The Lifespan of Dental Sealants
While made of plastic, sealants can last several years. They are quite strong and can hold up to most normal use. When your child comes in for their regular cleaning and exam, we take the time to assess the condition of their sealants. If a sealant does become damaged or is removed altogether, we can easily reapply it.
Taking Care of Sealants
Sealants are effective at protecting the crevices of the molars, preventing the likelihood of cavities. However, they are no substitution for good oral hygiene practices. Sealants only protect the areas where they are applied. Cavities can still form in other areas of the teeth, including near the sealants themselves. It is essential that your child continue to practice good oral hygiene, including brushing twice a day, flossing once daily, and coming in for regular cleanings and exams.
Dental sealants help to protect the molars of your child, making them easier to care for and less likely to experience decay and cavities. If you are interested in sealants for your child, contact Tiny Teeth Pediatric Dentistry at (316) 202-9629 today.