Sealing out decay with dental sealants is a terrific way to ensure your child doesn’t suffer a toothache. Kids can often neglect brushing their molars as they are harder to see and more challenging to brush with all of the pits and fissures on biting surfaces. If these areas aren’t properly cared for, it can lead to tooth decay, premature tooth loss and the risk of childhood periodontal disease. That’s where dental sealants come in handy as a preventative measure.
True to its name, a dental sealant acts as a seal for the grooves in your child’s back teeth, where dental caries often occurs. Sealants shield your child’s teeth from food, bacteria, acids and plaque. Together with a good dental health routine at home and regular visits to your pediatric dentist, sealants protect your child’s smile.
4 out of 5 instances of tooth decay happen in the molar region. Most of our chewing occurs using the molars and food can be compacted into the biting surfaces of these teeth. Combining this with the fact that they are already hard to clean, it makes good sense these are higher risk teeth!
Depending on the condition of your child’s teeth and their eating and oral health care habits, your pediatric dentist can recommend applying dental sealants to the molars. Sealants may also be placed on other teeth like the bicuspids, which reside just in front of the molars.
Despite their protection, dental sealants do not replace dental hygiene and fluoride supplements. But they do make dental hygiene easier by shallowing up the fissures where bacteria may be living to protect vulnerable tooth enamel.
The application is painless and finished in one visit without any anesthetic. The resin used in dental sealants are colored when wet (to help the dentist properly see every groove of the teeth sealed) and clear or white when dry. It’s best to apply sealants when baby teeth and permanent teeth first emerge, even before a tooth is full grown to protect the enamel from the very beginning. If teeth emerge slowly, they can be harder to brush as they are at a different level than the adjacent teeth and this can make risk of cavities go up.
The durability depends on each child’s eating and possibly grinding habits. The examination performed by our pediatric dentists at semi-annual dental checkups make sure the sealant is tightly in place. In some instances, they’re like stickers that lift off. If this is detected, they can easily be replaced or repaired. This highlights another reason for every 6 month checkups: if a sealant was damaged and food particles became trapped in the space under the sealant, the sealant can actually assist in tooth decay/cavity formation. While this is highly rare, it highlights the importance of dental issue prevention through regular checkups.
If you have any questions or concerns about dental sealants or whether your child is a good candidate for them, please give us a call or inquire about them at your next visit to our office!
About Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontic Specialists of Michigan, the offices of Drs. Delaney, Plunkett, Ralstrom, Makowski, Thanasas, Ker, and Associates
Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontic Specialists of Michigan have specialized in pediatric dentistry and orthodontics since 1968. Our family-friendly and newly renovated office gives patients and families a more comfortable and consistent experience with dentistry from the very beginning. Our pediatric dentists treat children from newborn to 18 years of age while our orthodontists provide care for both children and adults and are proud to be Premier Providers of Invisalign and Invisalign Teen services. The ability to treat all patients with compassion and individuality, including those that may have special needs reaches beyond our facility, which has treatment rooms available for children who require additional privacy and customized care options. We pioneered valued hospital affiliations to allow dental services to be performed at DMC Children’s Hospital and St. John Macomb Hospital, when appropriate or necessary, and our specialists are also proud to be on staff at Henry Ford and Beaumont hospitals.