Choose Dental Sealants to Protect Your Child’s Teeth from Decay
Dental sealants act as a barrier to protect tooth enamel from bacteria, plaque, and acids that contribute to decay. While the application of sealants is typically intended for children’s teeth, some adults with cavity-prone teeth may also see a benefit from sealants. At Santa Teresa Dental Center, we offer dental sealants as part of our pediatric dentistry services. Good oral health begins at a young age and sets the stage for an adulthood of strong, healthy teeth.
What Are Dental Sealants?
A dental sealant is a thin, plastic coating, either clear or white, that is impossible to see once painted on the chewing surface of molars and premolars. These back teeth are where decay occurs most often and, even with a parent’s help when brushing, these are areas that can be difficult to clean thoroughly in a child’s mouth. A toothbrush can only penetrate so far into the grooves of the teeth, and the unreachable spots are the most vulnerable to tooth decay.
Sealants are typically not applied to baby teeth, but rather to permanent teeth once they have erupted in a child’s mouth. The sealants create a smooth surface and are a preventive measure used to guard the tooth enamel from decay and decrease the likelihood of any cavities.
If your San Jose dentist recommends sealants, don’t be offended. This proactive measure is a positive recommendation that protects teeth and minimizes the likelihood of needing a tooth-colored filling, porcelain crown, or other dental restoration. Sealants cannot be applied to decayed teeth but, once a cavity has been treated with a filling, a sealant can be used.
The Dental Sealant Procedure
The application of a dental sealant is fast, simple, non-invasive, and painless. They are usually applied at the end of a child’s teeth cleaning and take only minutes to complete.
- The tooth must be cleaned, rinsed, and dried.
- An acidic solution is applied to the top of the tooth to create a rough surface, so the sealant can adhere properly.
- Once the gel has dried, the tooth will be rinsed and dried again.
- The liquid sealant is brushed on and cured using a blue light.
The hard, plastic varnish that forms is what ultimately protects the treated tooth.
The Importance of Dental Sealants for Your Kids
Kids are prone to cavities for many reasons. They don’t always brush well by themselves, which is why it is recommended that parents supervise and assist their child’s teeth-brushing in the morning and evening. They often skip brushing if afforded the opportunity. And their growing bodies have them demanding food throughout the day. This strong appetite keeps tooth enamel bathed in food particles and bacteria, creating a ripe breeding ground for decay.
While sealants are indicated for permanent teeth, it is so important to take care of baby teeth so adult teeth can erupt properly. If necessary, your San Jose dentist may consider applying sealants to your child’s baby teeth so they can remain strong and maintain their important role as placeholders in the mouth until permanent teeth push them out.
Find Out If Your Child Needs Dental Sealants
With proper care, dental sealants can last for 10 years. This is just the right amount of time to accompany your child through their young years so they stay cavity free. Sealants do not need to be removed from teeth but instead, over time, will gradually wear away. Teeth will not feel any different once sealants have disappeared, and the sealants can be reapplied in adulthood if necessary.
The most important thing to remember about sealants is that they do not protect against cavities alone. They are not permission to slack on regular at-home dental care and visits to the dentist every six months. All dental efforts contribute to good oral health, so it’s essential to keep up with cleanings and check-ups, for your children and yourself.