Prevent Unwanted Cavities With the Help of Dental Sealants
Imagine a protective shield against the common enemy of tooth decay that your children face every day. Not an imaginary one but a real, scientifically proven method that offers almost 80% protection against cavities for up to two years! Dental sealants: an incredible invention in preventive dentistry for children.
In this blog post, our Staten Island dentists discuss how sealants work to keep your child’s teeth healthy and pristine.
What Are Dental Sealants?
When it comes to protecting the teeth of our children from tooth decay, dental sealants have emerged as a powerful preventive measure. But what exactly are dental sealants?
Dental sealants can come in different forms, each with its unique characteristics and advantages. Two of the most common types of dental sealants are resin-based sealants and glass ionomer sealants.
- Resin-based sealants are the most commonly used and consist of a liquid resin material that’s applied to the teeth. This material bonds and hardens quickly under a special curing light, forming a protective barrier over the enamel. Resin-based sealants are durable and can last up to 10 years with proper care. Their tooth-colored appearance makes them aesthetically pleasing, blending seamlessly with natural teeth.
- Glass ionomer sealants are made from a combination of acrylic and glass ionomer materials. They have the advantage of releasing fluoride, which helps strengthen the tooth enamel and provides additional protection against decay. Glass ionomer sealants are often recommended for individuals at higher risk of cavities or those with early signs of tooth decay.
While both types of sealants offer benefits in preventing tooth decay, your dentist or dental hygienist will recommend the most suitable option based on various factors such as your child’s specific needs, dental history, and any existing conditions.
For example, if a child has a high risk of cavities or weak tooth enamel, the dentist may lean towards resin-based sealants for added durability and protection. Conversely, if a child has sensitivity issues or a higher likelihood of needing fluoride treatment, glass ionomer sealants might be recommended.
Regardless of the type chosen, sealant application remains a quick and painless procedure. The teeth are first cleaned and dried thoroughly before an etching solution is applied to help the sealant bond better with the tooth surface. Then, the sealant material is carefully painted onto the teeth before being hardened with a special light.
Benefits of Dental Sealants
Dental sealants provide several key advantages when it comes to the prevention of tooth decay in children. Benefits include:
- Highly Effective: Dental sealants have been proven to significantly reduce the risk of cavities. By forming a protective layer over the vulnerable chewing surfaces of back teeth, sealants act as an effective barrier against harmful bacteria and food particles.
- Easy Maintenance: Once applied, dental sealants require minimal maintenance. Children can continue with their regular oral hygiene routine of brushing and flossing as usual. However, sealants don’t protect the spaces between teeth, so regular cleaning in those areas remains crucial.
- Painless Procedure: The process of applying dental sealants is quick and painless. It involves cleaning and drying the teeth, applying an etching solution for better adhesion, and then painting on the sealant material before hardening it with a special light. This straightforward procedure ensures a comfortable experience for children.
- Cost-Effective: Dental sealants can help save money in the long run by preventing more extensive and expensive dental procedures such as fillings or root canals. Many insurance plans cover the cost of dental sealants for children up to a certain age, making them an accessible preventive measure.
By protecting children’s teeth from tooth decay, dental sealants play a vital role in maintaining optimal oral health and ensuring a bright smile for years to come.
The Dental Sealants Procedure
The application process for dental sealants is typically straightforward and painless, ensuring a smooth experience for both children and adults alike.
The first step in the procedure involves examining the tooth that will receive the sealant. The dentist will check for any minimal decay and ensure that the tooth is in good condition for the application. If any decay is present, it will be addressed before moving forward with the sealant.
After examination, the tooth is cleaned and dried thoroughly to ensure optimal adhesion of the sealant. This may involve using a special dental tool to remove any plaque or debris from the chewing surface of the tooth.
Once the tooth is prepared, a gentle etching gel or solution may be applied to roughen the surface slightly. This helps create a stronger bond between the tooth enamel and the sealant material. The etching gel is carefully rinsed off afterward, leaving behind a clean and ready surface.
Next comes the actual application of the dental sealant. The dentist or dental hygienist will paint a liquid sealant onto the chewing surfaces of the teeth being treated. This liquid resin flows into the deeper grooves and pits, penetrating them fully.
To harden and set the sealant into place, a special curing light is used. This light quickly hardens the liquid resin, transforming it into a solid plastic coating within seconds. Once cured, the sealant becomes an invisible barrier protecting against harmful bacteria and acid erosion.
Sealant Maintenance and Lifespan
Maintaining sealed teeth requires regular oral hygiene practices similar to unsealed teeth. This includes brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and flossing daily to remove plaque and food debris. Regular dental check-ups are also crucial to monitor the condition of the sealants and ensure they remain intact.
|Sealant Maintenance Tips|
|– Avoid chewing on hard objects like ice or pens|
|– Limit consumption of sticky or sugary foods|
|– Use a mouthguard during contact sports or activities that could risk damaging the sealant|
While dental sealants are highly effective in preventing tooth decay, they’re not invincible and may require additional care. For example, certain habits like grinding or clenching the teeth can cause sealants to wear down faster. Additionally, consuming excessively hard or crunchy foods may also affect their lifespan.
In general, sealants can last for up to 10 years but will require regular monitoring by your dentist. Over time, they may become worn down or damaged, reducing their effectiveness in preventing tooth decay.
Think of dental sealants as a protective shield for your teeth. Just as armor requires maintenance and occasional repairs, so do sealants. Regular visits to the dentist will ensure that your sealed teeth remain well-protected against cavities and decay.
Ward of Tooth Decay Today!
Ready to help your child prevent tooth decay and avoid unwanted dental problems? Contact our Staten Island dentists today to schedule your appointment for dental sealants. Our professional dental team is here to help set up your child for oral health success.