Preventative Dentistry: Are Dental Sealants Right For Your Child?

Dentist Blog

Much of what your family dentist does for your kids might be preventative in nature. Your children will have any tartar removed during a professional dental cleaning—ensuring that this doesn't cause gingivitis or other types of gum irritation. Cavities will be spotted and dealt with as needed, with regular fluoride treatments helping to prevent cavities from forming. Because your family dentist is concerned with preventing problems before they actually occur, they might suggest that your child should have dental sealants applied to their teeth. What should you know about sealants? 

Latex Coating

The sealant itself is a thin, transparent coating of latex. It's applied to teeth, but rarely to the entire surface of a tooth. A sealant is typically just used on the biting surface of a tooth, and even then—often only molars and premolars, or the teeth that handle the bulk of mastication and general chewing. 

Safe Harbor

The biting surfaces of these teeth feature numerous pits and fissures, which can be difficult to entirely clean with a toothbrush—no matter how diligent your child is, or even how closely you supervise them. Pits and fissures offer a safe place to harbor cariogenic (cavity-causing) bacteria, making the overall tooth more vulnerable to decay. After a thorough professional cleaning, the sealant is painted onto the applicable part of the tooth, creating an invisible layer of protection.

A Secure Seal

The potentially more vulnerable parts of the tooth are now securely sealed beneath the transparent latex, and this should reduce instances of cavities. Oral bacteria and other corrosive elements simply can't reach these parts of the tooth to trigger the chemical mechanism that creates tooth decay. A high level of oral hygiene will still need to be maintained, regardless of whether teeth have been treated with a sealant.

Cleaning a Sealant

There doesn't need to be any differentiation between the sealant and the tooth's natural surface area (its enamel). Your child just needs to brush their teeth as normal, and their brush will remove food debris and other particles from the sealants and their natural dental enamel at the same time. Their sealants will be inspected during their regular checkups with your family dentist.

Maintaining a Sealant

A sealant doesn't last indefinitely. It can corrode a little due to dietary factors, and the friction caused by teeth making contact with each other will also wear the sealant down. Your family dentist can reapply sealants as needed during a checkup (the whole process is extremely quick), and any old sealant will generally be gently removed with a dental scaler before a new coat is applied.

Dental sealants for children are so quick and easy to apply that there's really nothing to lose in choosing to have them applied to your child's teeth. If they prevent a single cavity, then they've more than justified their existence.

For more information, contact a family dentist today.


28 October 2022

To Tell the Tooth: A Dental Blog

Do you care for your teeth like you should? Most people brush their teeth, but so many people rush through this process and are not as careful as they should be. Still others avoid flossing. A lack of dental care over the years can lead to increased decay. Thankfully, we have dentists who can treat decay with fillings, crowns, and in some cases, root canals. Dentists also provide preventative care. They can clean your teeth and use things like fluoride treatments to strengthen your enamel. The more you know about dental care, the better you'll be able to care for your mouth, so feel free to read some of the articles on this website.