Where do you suppose cavities happen in your child’s mouth? It’s usually right in the back teeth, where they do the most chewing. Think about it – just run your tongue over the area, and you’ll see why decay happens. Those surfaces aren’t smooth – they’re actually filled with little fissures and pits that work really well to trap food particles and bacteria. If you think a toothbrush is going to get back there, you’re wrong. Those little crevices create the perfect environment for tooth decay.
When you add to that the fact that a child’s permanent teeth aren’t anywhere near as resistant as adult teeth are to decay, you’ve got a perfect breeding ground. And fluoride? Well, forget it – it can strengthen enamel, but how do you get it into those little fissures? What’s the solution?
Dental sealants. They’re invisible resinous coatings that help to smooth out the back teeth surfaces and make them more resistant to decay. Sealed teeth are more resistant to decay and less likely to require dental treatment down the road.
Placing sealants is painless, and doesn’t require any anesthetic. Before placing sealants, your child’s dentist will examine the tooth, clean it and dry it. Then the sealing solution is applied, and the tooth is once more sealed and dried. The sealant cures in a minute, and the tooth is protected.
Is it Safe?
A study was conducted in 2012, assessing the chemicals that are present in dental sealants. It was found that some dental sealants could cause behavioral problems in some, but not all, children. The same chemicals are far more prevalent in foods and beverages. The American Dental Association supports dental sealants.
Taking Care of Sealed Teeth
It’s estimated that dental sealants can last up to ten years. Teeth that are sealed should be treated in the same way as unsealed teeth – with regular brushing and flossing, and professional cleanings.
Text Copyright © 2015 Louis K. Cheung DDS PS – All rights reserved. Images used under license from Dear Doctor, Inc.