Kemper Meadow Family Dentistry offers a full range of dental health services for members of the entire family. We believe that good dental health starts with the first baby tooth and lasts throughout the person’s entire life. For that reason, we’re dedicated to providing oral health care services for those of all ages, and we realize that different age groups have different dental needs. One of the age-specific services we offer is dental sealants for children to help protect their teeth from decaying and developing cavities. Here’s what every parent should know about dental sealants:
What They Do
As their name implies, dental sealants provide a seal on the surface of the teeth. The main purpose of dental sealants is to help minimize the chances of the patient developing tooth decay. The back teeth, including the molars, are far more vulnerable than front teeth to decay and cavities. Not only are they sometimes overlooked when brushing and flossing, they contain significant cracks and crevices where food debris and other substances known to cause tooth decay can find a good hiding place. Sealants also cover the natural pits and fissures in the teeth where cavities are likely to get their initial start.
Dental sealants are made from super-thin layers of plastic or other strong, dense materials. They have been found to reduce instances of dental decay in molars by as much as 80%, according to a recent study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control.
Who Benefits From Them
Dental sealants are a common preventive measure in pediatric dentistry. Children between the ages of six and 14 are more prone to developing cavities than their older and younger counterparts and having a sealant applied. Although brushing and flossing is still the ideal way to prevent cavities, children of this age definitely benefit from the extra layer of protection that sealants provide. The first molars begin to come in at around the age of six, so be sure to ask your dentist about dental sealing when your child reaches that age.
However, it’s essential to realize that sealants should never be considered a substitute for good oral hygiene. Brushing and flossing is still necessary, and your child should never be allowed to skimp on those processes simply because he or she has had a dental sealant applied. Keep in mind that dental sealants are meant to provide an extra layer of protection to your child’s teeth rather than 100% protection. Another good reason for insisting on a strict dental hygiene routine consisting of brushing and flossing at least twice per day is that it sets the standard for a lifetime of good dental health.
Dental Sealants, although generally applied to younger people, can also benefit adults to help protect their teeth. If you have questions about sealants, please reach out to one of our team members for more information.
How Are Dental Sealants Applied?
The process for applying dental sealants is quick, easy, and painless. It takes place in the dentist’s office and should take no longer than 30 minutes, usually much less. The teeth are thoroughly cleaned and dried in order to prepare them for the sealant. The dentist will then place an acidic gel on the surface of the teeth. The purpose of this gel is to provide a slightly textured surface that will help the sealant bond more easily. After several seconds, the dentist will rinse off the gel and dry the teeth thoroughly. They are now ready for the sealant to be applied. Your dentist will then apply the sealant into the cracks, crevices, and assorted grooves of the teeth. After this is done, the dentist will use a special instrument equipped with a blue light to quickly dry the sealant.
Sealants usually last for several years. Your child may need to have them applied several times throughout his or her childhood as new back teeth begin to grow in. The dentist will check the sealants during regularly scheduled six month checkups.
Is Dental Sealing an Option for Adults?
Even though dental sealing is primarily used on children and teenagers, some adults may benefit from it as well. After all, everyone is vulnerable to the development of tooth decay no matter what their age. If you think dental sealants might be right for you, you should talk it over with your dentist.
Please feel free to reach out to us at any time if you have questions about dental sealants or any other aspect of family dentistry. We’ll be happy to answer your questions or to schedule a consultation with one of our dental health experts so that you can find out more about the benefits of trusting Kemper Meadow Family Dentistry with all your family’s dental health care needs.