Sealing out decay is a terrific way to ensure your child doesn’t suffer a toothache. Kids can often neglect brushing their molars, leading to tooth decay and premature tooth loss and the risk of childhood periodontal disease. The top surfaces of molars are among the hardest surfaces on teeth to clean due to their position deep in the mouth and the convoluted nature of the hills and valleys on their biting surfaces. That’s where sealants come in handy.
True to its name, a dental sealant acts as a seal for the grooves in your child’s back teeth, where dental cavities often occur. Sealants shield your child’s teeth from food, bacteria, acids and plaque. Together with a good dental health routine at home and a regular visit to your pediatric dentist, sealants are a huge protective mechanism for your child’s smile.
4 out of 5 instances of tooth decay happen in the molars. They’re hard to clean, and kids so often let their sweets sit there! All that acid and bacteria from sugar and food can wreak havoc fast, if not properly swept away or sealed out.
Depending on your child’s teeth condition and habits, your pediatric dentist can recommend applying sealants to the molars and other teeth too, like the ones next to the molars, the bicuspids.
Despite their protection, dental sealants shouldn’t replace dental hygiene and fluoride supplements. But they do protect highly vulnerable tooth enamel. Sealants are almost invisible too and do not change the size or shape of the teeth substantially and the bite is checked after they are installed to make sure there are no “high spots.”
It’s best to apply sealants when permanent teeth first emerge, even before a tooth is full grown. The application is painless and finished in one visit. Dental sealants often consist of liquid composite (a lightly filled version of a tooth colored filling many adults have experienced), colored when wet (to help the dentist properly see every groove of the teeth sealed) and clear or white when dry.
The durability depends on each child’s habits, but sealants usually last for many years. Semi-annual checkups make sure the sealant is tightly in place. In some instances, they may have chipped at the edges or completely lifted off, and when caught at routine 6 month visits, they are easily repaired. If left too long, food particles may become trapped in the space under or around the edge of a sealant and this can lead to tooth decay. Therefore, it is so important to see the dentist regularly to check the health of the teeth and gums.
If your child does not have sealants on their molars, be sure to inquire about their candidacy at your next appointment or give us a call anytime to discover more about these simple, cost effective protections available to your developing child.
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.