Dental sealants are one of the best ways to protect your child’s teeth as the new school year starts. Kids’ teeth are bombarded daily by decay-causing plaque, with many having to treat cavities due to lack of protection. Dental sealants work by placing a thin plastic coating on the chewing surfaces of teeth, thus sealing out food particles and decay that turn into cavities. Adults can receive dental sealants as well, but they’re most beneficial for kids whose teeth are more prone to cavities due to the shape of their growing teeth. Find out how this process works and all the benefits that dental sealants provide with this guide!
As kids began the new school, there is an excitement in the air, opportunities for new friendships and the prospect of new experiences. However, as kids march off to school, the time that they have to take care of their oral health usually goes down the drain. With homework, back-to-school parties and sports, there’s no time for kids to protect themselves against tooth decay. During the summer, kids are typically at home and their eating habits are monitored; school is a different story, though. With unhealthy school lunches, chewing gum and vending machines galore, kids’ teeth are attacked on a day-to-day basis by sugar. While an occasional soda pop or brownie from the lunch room doesn’t seem insidious, sugar creates acid on teeth, which quietly eats away at your child’s tooth enamel with every sugary food or drink they consume. Tooth enamel is the shiny, outer layer of teeth that can be worn down to the point that holes, or cavities develop. Cavities can be painful and when they’re not remedied, they can lead to tooth loss. Luckily, kids’ teeth can be protected from cavities by using fluoride toothpaste, having a good oral hygiene regimen and receiving dental sealants. These protective measures will ensure that your children’s teeth remain healthy, bright and shiny throughout the entire school year.
One way to give your child a step up this school year is by scheduling them an appointment with their dentist for dental sealants. A sealant is a thin plastic coating that’s applied to the chewing surface of teeth to prevent food, plaque and decay from building up on the tooth. The main purpose of dental sealants is to prevent the need for dental fillings and keep cavities from forming. The sealant “seals” off the pits and grooves that are naturally found on teeth so that teeth can be protected from cavities. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentists recommends that children receive dental sealants on their permanent molars and premolars where deep fissures normally develop, leaving them at risk for decay. Sealants can be placed on adult teeth, as well, but only for those who are at risk for cavities or haven’t had dental sealants placed before.
For kids who get nervous about going to the dentist, dental sealants are one of the easiest and completely pain-free dental procedures that they can receive. They don’t require any numbing agents, which means no shots or tears, and they’re tooth-colored so no one will ever see them. Before the sealant is applied, your child’s teeth will be polished by the hygienist to clean out any plaque or food particles that may be there. The tooth will be dried and etched with an acidic gel to roughen up the surface so that the application bonds correctly. The tooth will be dried again before the hygienist applies the liquid sealant material to the tooth and uses a self-curing light to bond the sealant to its surface. The entire process takes around 30 seconds per tooth, which is why kids love it. Afterwards, the dentist will check the sealants to see how well they work with your child’s bite. As soon as the sealants harden, the appointment will be over and your kid can start chewing on his/her tooth again.
While dental sealants are effective at preventing cavities, home care should be your number one priority to keep your children’s teeth decay-free. Dental sealants only protect the surface area of your children’s teeth, so the rest of the tooth is still exposed to potential plaque buildup. Monitoring your kids’ daily brushing and flossing schedule should be an important part of your routine to make sure that they’re doing it correctly and thoroughly. Make sure that they’re brushing with fluoride toothpaste, as well, which will strengthen their tooth enamel and thus better combat the effects of plaque. Brushing with a fluoride toothpaste will cover all of the surfaces of your kids’ teeth with fluoride every day, giving them added protection that their teeth will need during the school year. Bring them in for their six-month dental checkup so that the dentist can check the structural integrity of their sealants and deep clean their teeth. By following these tips, you will greatly reduce the number of cavities that your children have and help keep their smiles beautiful and healthy.
Prepare for the new school year by scheduling a dental appointment with Stonebrook Family Dental! Our team can place dental sealants on all of your children’s teeth in a way that’s natural and invisible. Call our office today at (303) 872-7907 to schedule your kids’ dental appointment and start the school year off on the right foot!