The majority of children who regularly visit the dentist will have dental sealants placed on their back teeth while they are still very young. If your dentist has made mention of dental sealants, you may have some questions about what they are and whether or nor they’re right for your little one. In an effort to provide you with information on the subject, we’ve assembled this list of frequently asked questions.
Q: What are Dental Sealants?
A: Dental sealants are crafted from a special type of plastic that is either white or clear. The sealants are then molded to the tops of the teeth, which feature deep grooves or pits (generally back teeth). This is done as a means of protecting the teeth against the development of cavities. The idea is that children (and adults) may struggle to adequately remove sugars, acids, and bacteria from these deeper grooves, so the sealants act as a physical barrier against these threats.Q: Who Needs Dental Sealants?
A: Most dental professionals agree that dental sealants should be applied as soon as a child’s permanent molars have grown in. By quickly sealing the molars, there is less of a chance that problems will arise or decay will have the opportunity to set in. The earlier the back teeth are protected, the less likely it is that your child will experience cavities or other dental issues down the road.Q: How are Dental Sealants Applied?
A: Dental sealants are only applied after the tooth has undergone a thorough cleaning process by a professional dentist or dental assistant. The cleaning process involves the use of polish and a rotating brush, followed by a deep rinse and the application of an acidic solution. The acidic solution is intended to create a rougher tooth surface which will make it easier for the sealant to grip securely to the tooth. Once the solution has dried, the sealant is applied in liquid form on top of the tooth’s fissures. The sealant then cures and hardens on its own.Q: How Long Will Dental Sealants Last?
A: Once dental sealants have been applied, it’s very unlikely that the process will need to be repeated. This is because dental sealants are designed to last for the entire life of the tooth. Unless the sealant is damaged as the result of an accident or injury, you can expect it to continue protecting your child’s molars for a lifetime. In the event that the sealant is damaged, a replacement sealer can be applied.Q: Is Any Special Care Needed?
A: The short answer to this question is ‘Yes!’ Those who don’t have dental sealants installed are far more likely to suffer the effects of tooth decay, including discoloration, cavities, and gum disease. It’s a lot easier to care for molars that have been sealed, thus making your child’s life simpler and healthier. Make sure to talk to your dentist for his or her professional opinion and to keep an eye on the development of your child’s permanent molars so that you know when to move forward with the process.
Don’t let a lack of education on dental sealants prevent you from making a decision that could protect your child’s teeth and livelihood. Learn more about dental sealants by giving Dr. Bruce McArthur, DDS, a call today.