Posts for tag: Dental Sealants
Taking care of your child’s teeth is a high priority, not only for their health now but for the future too. And that means dealing with their teeth’s most common and formidable enemy, tooth decay.
Your focus, of course, should be on preventing decay through good oral hygiene practices, a healthy diet low in foods with added sugar and regular office visits for cleaning and checkups. But some children at higher risk or who’ve already encountered tooth decay may also need a little extra help in the form of dental sealants.
The most common use of sealants addresses a weakness in young teeth that disease-causing bacteria exploit. Deep grooves known as pits and fissures form within the biting surfaces of developing back teeth and in the rear of front teeth.Â It’s very difficult to reach these areas with daily brushing, so some plaque may be left behind (hence the importance of semi-annual office cleanings).
Inside the mouth, these pits and fissures are in a warm and moist environment and are a haven for bacteria that feed on plaque and produce high levels of acid as a by-product. The acid softens enamel to eventually create a hole, or a “cavity” in the tooth. Children’s young enamel is highly susceptible to this process — it hasn’t developed enough strength to resist the adverse effects of acid.
A “pit and fissure” sealant made of resin fills in the grooves in the teeth to inhibit the buildup of plaque — a kind of “mini” filling. It’s an added layer of protection that complements other prevention efforts. But applying them isn’t an automatic practice — we only recommend it for children at high risk, especially where decay is beginning or it appears the conditions are conducive for it. When needed, though, it can be quite effective in preventing decay or minimizing its effects.
The best way to know if your child could benefit from a sealant is to have them undergo a complete dental exam. From there we can advise you on whether a sealant application is an important investment in their current and future health.
If you would like more information on dental disease prevention for children, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Sealants for Children.”
Issues like cavities can quickly cause the quality of your smile to degrade and cause serious issues if left untreated. You can prevent cavities altogether with a simple dental procedure that takes only minutes. Dental sealants can help protect your teeth from decay and keep them healthy and clean for years. Find out more about dental sealants with Dr. David Doyle at Sunnyside Dentistry for Children in Clackamas, OR.
What are dental sealants?
Sealants are a preventative dental treatment which creates a layer between teeth which are susceptible to decay, such as molars with deep grooves, and the bacteria and plaque which cause teeth decay. These grooves occur naturally and vary from person to person, making the need for sealants vary from patient to patient as well. Though most often used to protect children’s notoriously decay-prone teeth, sealants can prevent cavities in people of all ages, making them useful in a variety of situations.
What can I expect from the procedure for sealants?
Sealants are non-invasive and do not require any anesthetic or numbing prior to their placement. The sealing of the teeth involves first applying an etching solution to the tooth to roughen the surface and help bond the sealant to the tooth. The sealant is in liquid form and is simply painted onto the tooth. With the solution in place, your dentist uses a special light to help it harden and set. The entire process takes only a few minutes. The sealant creates a barrier between the tooth and the elements which cause decay and make the tooth easier to clean.
Dental Sealants in Clackamas, OR
Dental sealants can benefit almost anyone. Properly brushing and flossing is difficult even for adults and some children may not yet have developed their best oral hygiene skills. Sealants are especially important in younger patients since they help significantly lower the chances of decay. In addition to sealants, your child should brush at least twice daily and floss at least once. They should see their dentist at least twice a year for examinations and professional cleanings.
For more information on dental sealants, please contact Dr. Doyle at Sunnyside Dentistry for Children in Clackamas, OR. Call (503) 855-5100 to schedule your child’s appointment today!