As adults, we have the responsibility to care for our own teeth, but as parents, we have the responsibility to care for our own teeth as well as the teeth of our children. Parents and caregivers are determined to do whatever is necessary to provide their children with the most considerate attention to their needs, and those needs include their health needs. The health needs of children specifically involve their oral health, and therefore, parents should be aware of the most effective ways to ensure that their children maintain strong and shapely teeth as they grow. One such dental treatment option that preserves the condition of the tooth and prevents against cavities for years to come is sealants, for which children are ideal candidates. In order to keep parents and caregivers informed about advantageous dental treatments for their children, Park Avenue Dental would like to share about the definition, the history, the benefits, and the application of sealants.
The Definition of Sealants
Tooth decay is the most common dental health issue for children ages one to eighteen, and tooth decay appears most frequently in the form of cavities. Cavities are unfortunate and undesirable all around, as they can be incredibly painful to experience and somewhat expensive to treat. Therefore, one of the best plans for dealing with tooth decay is to use proactive prevention techniques, and sealants are one such popular technique. Sealants are thin, plastic coatings in liquid form that quickly harden and bond with the chewing surfaces of teeth in order to form a protective shield that inhibits bacteria and other debris from intruding into the deep crevices on the tops of the teeth. Due to the fact that basic brushing can sometimes miss the intricate depressions, pits, and grooves of teeth, it is incredibly important to use sealants on these vulnerable areas of the teeth for increased protection.
Molar and premolar teeth are lined with deep fissures that can be narrower than the single bristle of a toothbrush and are therefore difficult to clean. A buildup of plaque in these areas can instigate the development of cavities, and therefore, applying sealants to these especially susceptible teeth creates a smooth surface that children can clean more effectively and depend on to stop dental decay more successfully. Children are particularly good candidates for sealants as they move through the cavity-prone years of ages six to fourteen, and sealants should be applied soon after their permanent teeth are newly erupted. Therefore, by allowing dental professionals such as those at Park Avenue Dental to cover your children’s teeth with sealants, you will dramatically reduce the possibility of tooth decay, and this prudent move can spare you and your children future pain, expenses, and dental visits.
The History of Dental Sealants
The popularity of sealants heightened dramatically in the 1970s, but the earliest versions of sealants began appearing in the 1950s. Sealants have retained their appeal since then, and advancements from modern dentistry have continuously improved the effectiveness of sealants. The use of sealants is most efficient in young children in which tooth decay has not yet begun. Once decay is present, sealants are somewhat less potent, but they have still been shown to combat any continuing damage.
The Benefits of Dental Sealants
Sealants can truly be lifesavers against dental decay for children. Sealants enhance the ability of young children to maintain strong and healthy teeth as they are growing and adapting to the responsibility of personal hygiene. When combined with proper brushing and flossing, professional cleanings, and a healthy diet, sealants are literally an added layer of defense against plaque and bacteria. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry reports that “sealant placement in children and adolescents has shown a reduction of cavities incidence of 86% after one year and 58% after four years” (http://www.aapd.org/assets/1/7/FastFacts.pdf), and additional studies have proven that sealants are in fact 100% effective in protecting the sealed teeth from cavities. As long as the bond between the tooth and the sealant is not broken, food particles and bacteria cannot penetrate the barrier of the sealant. Therefore, choosing to equip your children with sealants as soon as possible can empower their teeth to evade cavities for years to come.
The Application of Dental Sealants
When your child receives sealants from a trained and experienced dentist, the application process will be incredibly easy and painless for them. The first step to applying sealants is to thoroughly clean, examine, and prepare the teeth to be sealed. After the teeth have been sufficiently cleaned, they are then dried and isolated using cotton or another absorbent material in order to prevent saliva contamination. Achieving complete isolation of each tooth is an important part of the sealant application process, yet capable dentists can still complete this step smoothly with cotton rolls or gentle shields.
Once the teeth are fully prepped, the next step is to etch or roughen the surface of the teeth with a chemical substance that will allow the sealant to adhere better. The dentist then paints the sealant on to each tooth and directs a warm light source toward the teeth to encourage faster drying. The teeth are then rinsed and dried again, and the procedure is finished. Your child will not be numb after receiving their sealants, so they will be able to eat and drink immediately after the appointment. Sealants can have a clear or white tint depending on the type used, and though the sealants may cause an odd sensation for your children that feels like they are biting down on something, after a few days, this feeling will disappear and they will no longer be able to detect the presence of the sealants. Though a dentists should inspect your child’s teeth regularly for any chipping or excessive wear, their new sealant will last for five to ten years and will drastically decrease their chances of suffering from cavities as they age.
Dental Sealants from Park Avenue Dental
As part of our pediatric dentistry services, Park Avenue Dental offers sealants to our young patients, and we do so while securing the comfort and calm of your child for the duration of the appointment. Our dentists have the experience and considerate to perform the expert application of dental sealants for your child, so to learn more about the advantageous of dental sealants and how your child can receive them from Park Avenue Dental, contact our office today!