Whilst diet is an important factor in reducing their risk of decay, another proven protective measure is the use of dental sealants. Assist your child by learning what sealants are, what they do and how they are an important part of their dental care.
What Is A Sealant?
Dental or fissure sealants are a safe and painless way of protecting your children’s teeth from tooth decay. A sealant is a simple plastic coating that covers the chewing surfaces of the back adult teeth, where most tooth decay in children occurs. The sealant forms a hard shield that keeps food and bacteria from getting into the tiny grooves in the teeth. They can wear over time and the dentist or dental hygienist may add or replace some sealant.
How Do They Work?
This plastic resin bonds into the grooves of the chewing surfaces of back teeth. The sealant acts as a barrier, protecting enamel from plaque and acids. As long as the sealant remains intact, the tooth surface will be protected from decay. Sealants hold up well under the force of normal chewing. During your regular dental visits, your dentist will check the condition of the sealants and reapply them when necessary.
Who Should Get Sealants?
The likelihood of developing decay begins early in life, so children and teenagers are obvious candidates for sealants. Children should have sealants applied to their permanent molars as soon as the teeth come in. The first permanent molars, called “6 year old molars” erupt between the ages of 5 and 7. The second permanent molars, ”12 year old molars” erupt when a child is between 11 and 14 years old. Teenagers and young adults who are prone to decay may also need sealants.
How Are Sealants Applied?
It is quick and straightforward to apply a sealant, with the process taking only a few minutes per tooth. There is no need for children to be scared, as the application is pain free and there are no injections or drilling necessary. A dentist or dental assistant will clean and prepare the tooth with a special solution and then dry it with air. The sealant liquid is then applied and set hard using a special light. Sealants can be clear or white in colour, and cannot be seen when your child talks or smiles.
Do They Require Special Care?
Dental sealants do not require any special or additional care. However, they are only one part of a child’s preventative dental care. It is still important that teeth are brushed twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. The sealed surfaces will now be easier to clean when toothbrushing. It is also important that children limit their intake of sugary foods and drinks, particularly in between meals when teeth are more susceptible to decay.
Caring For Children’s Teeth In Sydney
Call Dental Care Glebe today to book a sealant appointment for your child. As a leading paediatric dentist in Sydney, our friendly and professional team can take care of all general children’s dentistry needs. Visit us today!