What is a sealant? Is it good for my child’s teeth?
A sealant is a thin plastic coating that is painted onto the surface of your teeth. It is applied to the chewing surfaces of molar teeth, which have grooves and deep pits. The material is applied into these pits and grooves and then hardens. Once your child’s molar teeth are sealed, food and plaque cannot get in. The sealant also forms a barrier against acid attacks.
Why is it good to place sealants on a child’s teeth?
Cavities can be very painful, and they usually form at the top of a tooth, since the surface of the tooth is a great place for bacteria to hide in. Tooth decay typically will occur on the chewing surfaces of the back teeth. Sealants can help protect these chewing surfaces from cavities and improve your child’s chances of staying cavity free.
What can cause tooth decay?
Teeth are coated with bacteria called plaque. That bacteria converts the sugars you drink and/or eat into acids that attack the outer, strong layer of a tooth. That layer is called the enamel. Over a period of time this can weaken the tooth’s enamel, which then causes cavities. A toothbrush bristle is too big to be able reach inside the grooves of the tooth. That is why a sealant can help to protect those grooves from bacteria getting in.
How is a sealant applied?
First the teeth are cleaned, and the chewing surfaces are then prepared to help the sealant to adhere to the teeth.
The sealant is then pained onto the chewing surface and then bonded to the tooth and hardened. At times a special curing light is used to enable the sealant to harden.
The procedure is quick and easy and pain free!
How long will a sealant last?
Sealants can last for several years and can be repaired if needed. If the sealant remains undamaged the tooth surface is protected from cavities.
Dr Levi Sorenson will check your sealants during your child’s 6 or 3 month preventive care visits, and will recommend replacement as needed.
According to the CDC, sealants can protect up to 80% of teeth from cavities for two years and then will continue to protect your child’s teeth against 50% of cavities for up to four years.
Taking good care of your teeth at home along with regular dental exams and cleanings at your child’s pediatric dentist are very important. Developing good habits will reduce the chance of cavities in your child’s teeth.
- Brush your child’s teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste
- Floss between their teeth on a daily basis
- Have a healthy diet, limiting sugary drinks and snacks
- See your pediatric dentist on a regular basis for prevention and recommended treatment
Sealants are a cost-effective way to prevent cavities
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