If you have a young child who has already started to develop some cavities, then it may be time to start thinking about some oral care treatments that can reduce the risks of decay developing in the future. Many pediatric dentists will suggest the placement of dental sealants on the teeth. The sealants are incredibly common, and you can keep reading to learn about a few common questions involving them.
What Are Dental Sealants?
Dental sealants are coverings that are created to fill in the grooves, dips, and fissures that sit across the surfaces of the teeth. These grooves are most significant along the molars and premolars, so these are the teeth that are most often treated with the sealants. Sealants are made from plastic. This plastic is a liquid material that is painted onto the tops of the teeth. The grooves are filled in with the solution to keep food from gathering inside of them, and the plastic is then hardened with a special light.
While sealant placement is a painless process that can be completed quite quickly, you should know that the teeth do need to be prepared beforehand. Preparation involves the acid etching of the molar surfaces. This roughens the enamel and allows the plastic to stick strongly. The etching process does not damage your child's teeth though.
Keep in mind that if your child has active decay within one or several of the teeth, the teeth will need to be treated first before the sealers can be added. Otherwise, the decay will be trapped in the tooth.
How Long Do Sealants Last?
If you schedule a sealant treatment for your child, then you likely want to know how often the treatment needs to be completed. Well, this depends on your child. Since sealants are made from a thin plastic material, the coating will wear away over time as your child bites and chews on food. So, the sealant will wear away slowly, and your child's dentist will inspect the teeth to see how quickly this is happening.
Once the sealer has thinned significantly, the dentist will apply a new sealer. This will typically need to happen every few years. The sealers can be added starting around six when the first molars pop through the gums and should be added to the second molars as soon as they appear as well. The coating should then be added regularly until your son or daughter is about 14. After 14, your child will be prone to fewer cavities so the sealers are likely not needed any longer.
Up until a year ago, I did my best to keep my teeth and gums clean. But after securing a new job, I began to work late into the night and didn't have the time or energy to brush and floss before I retired to bed. My busy schedule and poor dental hygiene finally affected my teeth and gums. After experiencing severe pain in several of my teeth, I made an appointment with my dentist. My dentist examined my mouth and discovered three large cavities in my molars. After four long weeks, my dentist finally completed my dental work. I learned a very painful lesson during that time. No matter how busy you are, always brush and floss. I started this blog to inform other people about the importance of good dental care. I hope you find the time to read it. Thanks for visiting.