Children Tooth Decay and Protecting Them with Dental Sealants
Understanding sealants – your invisible barrier to tooth decay
A sealant is a clear material that bonds with the tooth to help shield out decay-causing bacteria from the chewing surfaces of the back teeth. They form a protective barrier covering the pits and fissures to prevent cavities in hard to clean back teeth.
Sealants are a safe, painless, and low-cost way to protect patient’s teeth –particularly children. Children’s cavities occur most often in these areas because the bristles of a toothbrush are often too wide to enter the area, even with vigorous brushing. Tooth enamel is thinner in pits and fissures than in other areas of the tooth, so they are particularly vulnerable to decay. Decay occurs as bacteria acts on food to form acids that weaken and destroy tooth enamel. After decay starts and a cavity is formed, it must be repaired by a dentist to save the tooth.
Children are often better candidates than adults for this treatment because sealants can only be applied if teeth are free of decay and fillings, which is often the case with new teeth in children.
How Long Does a Sealant Last?
Sealants are usually long-lasting if the seal remains intact. Regular checkups are necessary to make sure the sealant has not been dislodged and to reapply if needed. Some hard foods, such as candy, ice, or sticky foods, may dislodge sealants and should be avoided.
The Procedure of Applying the Sealant
Sealants can be applied by either the dentist or a registered hygienist. There is no discomfort associated with the procedure and is done in three quick steps:
- To begin, the teeth are cleaned, dried, ad etched so the sealant will adhere.
- The sealant is painted on and hardened.
- Finally, the sealant is carefully checked. Each tooth is examined to be sure that the groves are fully covered and that the sealant won’t interfere with chewing.
The sealants are barely visible because they are white or tooth-coloured.
Dr. Manjula Duhan and her dental team at Golf Links Dental are dedicated to providing excellence in dental care. We love working with kids and helping them create a long life of healthy smiles.
Call our Ancaster Dental Office to schedule your dental appointment.