Children are more prone to tooth decay because their newly erupted, permanent teeth are not as resistant to cavities as adult teeth. Their eating habits and lack of proper brushing technique also contribute to this vulnerability. Dental sealants act as a barrier, protecting the teeth from decay-causing bacteria and plaque.
Additionally, dental sealants are cost-effective. The cost of placing a sealant is much less than filling a cavity, both in terms of money and the discomfort your child might experience. Dental sealants are an investment in your child's oral health that will pay off in the long run.
Children with dental sealants have significantly fewer cavities than those without them. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that school-aged children without sealants have almost three times more cavities than children with sealants.
The application of dental sealants is a simple and painless procedure that takes just a few minutes. The first step involves cleaning the tooth surface thoroughly to remove any plaque or food particles. The tooth is then dried, and a slightly acidic solution is applied to the tooth surface to roughen it up. This helps the sealant bond better to the tooth.
After the tooth is dried again, the dental sealant is painted on the tooth surface. It bonds directly to the tooth and hardens. Sometimes a special curing light is used to help the sealant harden. Once the sealant has hardened, it becomes a hard plastic varnish coating, and you can chew on the tooth again.
Your dentist or hygienist will check the sealant during your regular dental exams and can place a new sealant if necessary.
Caring for dental sealants is straightforward. Encourage your child to maintain good oral hygiene. This includes brushing twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste, flossing daily, and avoiding frequent snacking on sugary foods and drinks.
Though dental sealants act as a barrier against decay, they only protect the surface where they are applied. Other areas of the teeth remain vulnerable to decay and need to be cleaned thoroughly.
Remember that dental sealants are not a substitute for fluoride. Fluoride works by making the tooth structure stronger and more resistant to decay. Continue to use fluoridated toothpaste and mouthwash, and drink fluoridated water.
Regular dental exams play a crucial role in maintaining the health of dental sealants. During these exams, the dentist or dental hygienist will check the sealants for any chipping or wear.
Regular dental exams also allow the dentist to spot any potential problems early on, such as cavities forming underneath the sealants. The dentist can then take corrective action before the problem escalates.
During these examinations, the dentist can also provide additional advice and guidance on maintaining your child's dental sealants based on their specific needs and circumstances.
Dental sealants are a powerful tool in keeping your child's teeth healthy and free from decay. They are a safe, cost-effective, and painless procedure that can provide long-term protection for your child's teeth. However, they require care and attention to ensure they remain effective. By maintaining good oral hygiene, scheduling regular dental exams, and being vigilant for signs of wear or damage, you can ensure that your child's dental sealants continue to provide optimal protection.
For more information on how to properly care for your child’s dental sealants, visit Colwick Pediatric Dentistry at our Cleburne, Texas, office. Please call (817) 382-3029 to discuss any questions with our team of experts or to schedule an appointment today.