Thorough brushing and flossing are great for removing food particles and plaque from teeth, but those two alone are not enough. Especially when we’re talking about the depression and grooves found all the way back of your teeth.
This is where dental sealants come in, as they help add an extra layer of protection for those vulnerable from decay.
Fluoride has been proven to be very effective in preventing decay and protecting all the surfaces of your teeth. However, the chewing surfaces found on the back of your teeth are especially vulnerable to decay.
The main reason why children benefit from them the best is because their permanent molars don’t come in until between the ages of 6 and 12. This means that a dental sealant can be applied to them almost immediately when they come out. Additionally, this is also why dental sealants are more effective in children than they are in adults.
Why the Molars and Premolars?
As mentioned earlier, the chewing surfaces of the molars and premolars typically have deep fissures. And, it is these grooves and pits that make them very vulnerable to decay. However, dental sealants are not limited to the molars and premolars. Other teeth who also have deep fissures are also candidates for dental sealants to protect them from decay.
Sometimes, even baby teeth may be primary candidates for dental sealants, especially if they have grooves or pits, just for added protection.
What to Expect During the Procedure
- Preparation – First, the dentist or dental hygienist removes plaque and other food particles from the tooth. The tooth is then isolated and left to dry out for a while. Once dry, the hygienist will start etching the surface of the tooth before rinsing off the material and leaving it to dry out again.
- Application – Once fully dry, the dental sealant material is applied to the tooth’s surface using a brush. A self-curing light is then used to make sure that the sealant bonds well to the tooth surface.
- Evaluation – Finally, the dental hygienist or dentist takes a look at the dental sealant to check for any remaining crevices. Once fully hardened, the dental sealant will look like a hard plastic coating that will serve to protect the molars and premolars from tooth decay.
With dental sealants, your child’s molars and premolars are now well protected from the effects of tooth decay. That, however, does not apply to your other teeth. Both brushing and flossing are still just as important with dental sealants as they are without them.
While dental sealants do really work for children’s teeth, they are not permanent. Often, they only last for anywhere between five to ten years. Also, don’t forget to have them checked by your child’s dentist regularly.
Combined with good oral hygiene at home, a healthy diet and regular dental visits for checkups and cleaning, dental sealants are a great way to keep your child’s teeth clean, healthy and free from decay throughout their lives.
To learn more about dental sealants call Dr. Flynne Weingarten at Dental Associates of Hoboken at 201-795-2111. Also visit the website at http://www.hobokenpediatricdentistry.com.