As a committed and caring parent, you are undoubtedly dedicated to ensuring that your child’s teeth are as strong and healthy as they possibly can be. There are many different things you can do to support your kid’s dental health, from teaching him the best way to brush his teeth by minimizing the amount of sugary or acidic food and drink he consumes. Regular appointments with your dentist are also crucial, and at one of these your family dentist may speak to you about the option to place sealants over your child’s teeth.
Dental sealants are a type of protective covering that can be applied to the outer surface of the teeth. Sealants are made from a type of plastic that molds perfectly to the shape of your child’s teeth. They can be transparent, white or even slightly tinted, and your pediatric dentist will find a variety that closely resembles your child’s natural tooth color so that the sealants look natural and do not draw attention.
Dental sealants are most often applied to the teeth at the back of a kid’s mouth – the molars and pre-molars - which are the ones that are square and flat, and have pits and grooves indented into the top. The design of teeth is evolutionary, and in the case of molar and pre-molars, the indentations in them help us to chew our food effectively. Unfortunately, these pits and grooves are small and narrow, making it easy for microscopic food debris and bacteria to get trapped in them, and much harder for you and your child to clean them effectively. If they are not brushed properly dental decay can set in. This occurs when the bacteria and food debris interact and produce acids as a by-product, and these acids erode the enamel of the teeth, eventually exposing the softer and more sensitive layers of the teeth. If bacteria enter inside the tooth, infection and further, more serious problems could develop. By placing dental sealants over these teeth, it is impossible for bacteria and food fragments to become lodged in these fissures and cause decay to develop.
Many people think that sealants are only beneficial on adult teeth, but the truth is that they are also extremely valuable when placed on baby teeth too. This is for several reasons.
Firstly, sealants placed on baby teeth can help prevent cavities from forming. Unfortunately, cavities in kids are very common, and studies estimate that six out of ten children will have at least one cavity by the time they reach five years old. This is largely attributed to the amount of sugar in modern foods, particularly those of the convenience variety. Obviously, by placing sealants on baby molars and pre-molars, you can reduce the likelihood of dental cavities developing in these teeth. As a result, you can also prevent your kid from needing to undergo dental work to remove decay from the affected tooth and filling it to prevent further bacteria from entering the cavity. This can be unpleasant for an adult, never mind a young child who doesn’t understand what is happening and why it is needed.
By using sealants to keep decay at bay, you will be able to protect neighboring teeth from being affected by this problem too. This is because untreated cavities in baby teeth can spread and cause decay in other teeth in the mouth, including those which may already be present ‘adult’ teeth.
If you would like to learn more about dental sealants, or if you would like to visit our offices so that your child can receive this preventative treatment, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our friendly and reassuring pediatric dental team here at Forworth Children's Dentistry. Call 817-569-6633 today!