Dental sealants are invisible, plastic resin coatings that smooth out the chewing surfaces of back teeth, making them resistant to decay. Accordingly, sealed teeth are far less likely to: develop a cavity, require more expensive dental treatment later on, or cause your child pain.
The Key Takeaways:
- Picture a sealant as a mini plastic filling.
- It is clear and harmless, and you can reassure your child that it doesn't "count" as having a cavity filled.
- Because tooth enamel does not contain any nerves, placing a sealant is painless and does not routinely require numbing shots.
Why Sealants Matter
Brushing and flossing teeth on a regular basis can help your kids avoid a lot of cavities. However, toothbrush bristles are not always able to reach the creases that reside on the uneven chewing surfaces of the back teeth. This, in turn, is the location where cavities are most likely to develop.
If you run your tongue over the teeth in the back of your mouth, you will discover that these areas are not smooth. They actually house many tiny grooves referred to as "pits and fissures," which trap bacteria and food particles. As such, tooth decay is more prone to develop there because such places are harder to reach with a toothbrush, and because the dark, moist crevices provide ample growing ground for oral bacteria.
In addition to these risks, a child’s newly erupted permanent teeth are not as resistant to decay as adult teeth because their hard enamel coating needs time to develop. Fluoride, which is found in toothpaste, some drinking water, and in treatments we use here at our Sugar Land, TX dental office, can strengthen enamel. However, again, it's hard to get fluoride into those pits and fissures on a regular basis.
As a result of all this, Larry Caldwell, DDS & Associates highly recommends the use of dental sealants to protect your child’s teeth from the damage and decay brought on by elusive bacteria.
How Sealants Are Placed
- First, our caring doctors will examine the tooth or teeth that need to be sealed. If minimal decay is found at this point, it will be gently removed.
- The tooth will then be cleaned and dried.
- From there we will apply a solution that slightly roughens or "etches" the surface of the tooth, allowing the sealing material to stick better.
- The tooth is then rinsed and dried again.
- Following, the sealant is painted on the tooth in liquid form. It will harden after about a minute (sometimes with the help of a special curing light) and then that's it! You’re all done!
Taking Care of Sealants
Sealed teeth require the same conscientious dental hygiene as unsealed teeth. Your child should continue to brush and floss his or her teeth daily and visit Larry Caldwell, DDS & Associates at our Sugar Land, TX office for regular professional cleanings. This will give us a chance to check for wear and tear on the sealants, which should last for up to 10 years. During this time your child will be benefiting from a preventive treatment that is proven to reduce decay by more than 70 percent.
In the past there have been concerns raised about the trace amounts of bisphenol-A (BPA) found in some dental resins, and their effect on child behavior.However, in a widely covered study published in 2012, authors noted that, while they had found an association, they had not actually proven that BPA in dental sealants causes these problems. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and the American Dental Association have since reaffirmed their support for the use of sealants.
Protect Your Child’s Smile Today!
Pediatric dentists recommend the use of sealants to best protect children’s teeth from the decay and damage of hiding bacteria. If you have any questions about sealants, BPA, or other ways to keep you child’s smile healthy, contact us in our office today.
Whether you’re from right here in Sugar Land, TX, or from one of our surrounding communities like Rosenberg or Richmond, out team would be happy to help you. Additionally, to better serve patients in West Ford Bend County, Brazoria, and Wharton Counties, your child can also visit Dr. Caldwell at his Wharton, TX office too.
No one knows pediatric dentistry and special needs pediatric dentistry like Larry Caldwell, DDS & Associates. Make an appointment now, and have your child smile brighter tomorrow!
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