We know it’s important and as much as we try, as parents we can’t always rely on our children to keep up a good oral hygiene routine at home. We try to make it fun with strawberry flavored toothpastes and a toothbrush in the shape of their favorite cartoon character but the fact of the matter is, kids sometimes don’t brush their teeth and when they do it’s often not long enough and cavities and tooth decay can be a result. Our Norwalk CA pedodontist understands this and lets parents know there are ways to help. Correct flossing and brushing will always be encouraged, no matter what the age of the patient, but as an added method to help prevent decay, dental sealants are an option.
Dental sealants are a thin, clear, plastic coating that protects the grooves of the teeth from bacteria and acids. Our Norwalk CA pedodontist with Children’s Dental Group, applies a creamy resin to the main chewing teeth and molars with a tiny brush. Once it hardens, this resin will protect the teeth for years. For those younger children who have trouble brushing their teeth and properly cleaning hard-to-reach places in the mouth, dental sealants are especially beneficial. In most cases, dental sealants can last many years on permanent teeth, and replacing sealants is fairly easy.
The majority of tooth decay in children and teens happens on the surfaces of the back teeth. Sealants protect these chewing surfaces from tooth decay by keeping germs and food particles out of the grooves where dental sealants are applied. A child’s first molars usually come into the mouth at about age 6 and the second molars appear around age 12. It is most beneficial if the sealant is applied soon after the teeth have erupted and before there is any chance of decay. Our Norwalk CA pedodontist will explain that it’s best to use dental sealants on permanent molars where they will get the most benefit.
Another advantage to dental sealants is the application process is quick and easy and doesn’t require any drilling or removal of tooth structure. Our Norwalk CA pedodontist will clean the tooth before applying a special gel on the chewing surface for a few seconds. The tooth is then rinsed and dried before the sealant is painted on the tooth. Our dentist or dental hygienist may also shine a special light on the tooth to help harden the sealant. It only takes about one minute for the sealant to form a protective shield and can last as long as five to ten years.