When it comes to your family’s oral health, your child has different dental needs than your dental needs. While tooth decay does affect adults, tooth decay is the top chronic illness among children. Due to the fact that tooth decay affects so many children, your family dentist offers preventative treatments to help decrease your child’s risk of developing childhood cavities.
In addition to regular dental cleanings and fluoride treatments, your family dentist may also recommend using dental sealants to decrease your child’s risk of tooth decay. Dental sealants are preventative coatings of composite resin that are hardened on the surface of your child’s teeth in order to act as a barrier between tooth enamel and the bacteria responsible for tooth decay. To learn more about dental sealants, check out these five facts:
Have an easy application process
As far as dental procedures are concerned, having dental sealants placed are one of the most non-invasive ways to prevent tooth decay. The first step to getting a dental sealant is for your child’s dentist to thoroughly clean their teeth so that no plaque or bacteria becomes trapped underneath the sealant. Once the tooth surface has been cleaned, a thin layer of composite resin will be brushed over the surface of the tooth. This layer will then be hardened into place using a special curing light. The entire process of placing a sealant is quick, easy, and painless.
Used on molars
Although dental sealants can technically be applied to any tooth in the mouth, they are most commonly used on the chewing surface of the molars and premolars. This is because these surfaces are highly texturized and are the most common locations of childhood cavities. While cavities can form on smooth surfaces or the tooth roots, these types of cavities are not as common in children. By applying a layer of composite resin over the textured chewing surface of the molars and premolars, this provides a barrier between the enamel and harmful bacteria.
Highly effective against childhood cavities
Once dental sealants are placed over the chewing surface of molars, they are highly effective in preventing childhood cavities. In fact, the American Dental Association notes that they can reduce the risk of cavities by 80% in the first two years of their initial application. Even between year two and four, they still maintain about 50% effectiveness. Depending on how worn out the sealant is, your family dentist may recommend replacing the sealant anywhere from 2-4 years after the initial complication. While you can safely leave a sealant in place for up to nine years, this is not recommended since the sealant will no longer be effective at that point.
Recently, there has been some debate about the safety of sealants due to the fact that they are produced with trace amounts of BPA. Luckily, the American Dental Association has devoted hours and hours of research on sealants to ensure they are safe for children. The results of these studies found that there is more BPA in the air we breathe than in sealants. In the case you are still worried about BPA, there are also BPA-free dental sealants.
Finally, with dental sealants you won’t have to worry about your photographic memories being affected by visible dental treatments. In fact, dental sealants are nearly invisible once they are placed over the surface of your child’s teeth. This is because they are made from composite resin. Composite resin is a common dental material used in cosmetic dentistry for its aesthetic properties. There are different types of composite resin, however they can either be clear, white, or customized to the exact color of your child’s teeth.