Bloom Children's Dentistry

Dental Sealants 

Has your child experienced cavity formation on the crowns of their back teeth, or is there concern about cavity formation due to deep crevices on the crowns of the teeth? If so, your dentist may recommend applying a dental sealant.

 

Due to the highly variable surface presentation of the molars in the mouth, it can become difficult to avoid decay despite following a regular oral hygiene routine of brushing the teeth twice a day and flossing regularly. This is because cratering on the crowns of the back teeth can be narrow and deep, making it difficult to flush away plaque bacteria and acids between meals without consistently brushing after each meal.

When the back teeth are used to break down our foods, the pressure from the bite force can pack food debris and plaque bacteria into the small crevices between the teeth and on the crowns (which are referred to as pits and fissures). Plaque bacteria in the mouth digests sugars from our foods and secretes a highly acidic byproduct which can contribute to erosion of the protective enamel as well as irritate the surrounding soft tissues. With time, foods that are trapped in the crowns of the teeth can begin to demineralize the enamel and form cavities. Thanks to modern dentistry, we can now avail ourselves of sealants to assist in limiting the access of food debris into the recesses of the crowns of the teeth, and therefore significantly decrease the likelihood of cavity formation in the back teeth.

Understanding Sealants

Sealants offer a non-invasive opportunity to effectively limit cavity formation. In order to apply a dental sealant, your dentist will begin by cleaning the teeth effectively and removing all bacteria from the pits and fissures of the tooth in order to ensure that these bacteria do not become trapped under the sealant. If this occurs, there is risk of the cavity formation occurring under the sealant and out of view until the cavity poses discomfort or other complication. Once the tooth has been effectively cleaned and dried, a liquid resin sealant is applied to the pits and fissures of the tooth. The resin bonds with the surface of the teeth and fills the recesses of the tooth similar to a filling. Unlike fillings however, sealants do not require drilling of the tooth.

 

Once the resin is in place, an ultraviolet light is used to cure the resin into a hardened plastic which will be resilient to the effects of decay and can remain in the mouth for several years. Sealants are periodically redone once wear and tear break down the resin enough to compromise its effectiveness as a ‘seal’.

Once the sealant is cured the mouth can be rinsed and the procedure is complete. The mouth is now better protected against the effects of tooth decay and plaque. Although sealants are most often used in pediatric dentistry, they can be used on patients of any age.

It is important to consider that while sealants do a great job of limiting the possibility of decay on the teeth in which they are placed, sealants are not an adequate substitute for proper oral hygiene.

Dental Sealants Can Help Reduce The Chance of Tooth Decay and Gum Disease.

An Effective Prevention Method of Cavity Development is the use of Dental Sealants.

Supporting Your Child’s Oral Hygiene 

Patients with sealants must continue to brush and floss their teeth regularly and take reasonable steps to partake of a diet which will support good oral health. This means consuming leafy greens and vegetables high in vitamin and mineral content and limiting the intake of carbohydrates and sweets.

 

All children, regardless of whether they have had sealants installed in their mouths, should never be put to sleep with milk or juice bottles. Prolonged exposure to the sugar contents of milk and juice in the mouth can result in widespread decay as the mouth becomes highly acidic. Sweet drinks should be offered only with a meal or not at all. Offering sweet drinks with a meal offers the balancing effect of food in the mouth in order to control overall acidity and bacterial growth. Consuming sweet drinks on their own, particularly when consumed slowly over an extended period of time results in prolonged exposure of the teeth and gums to the acids which result from consuming the sweetened drinks. Even drinks that do not have added sugar but contain natural sugars contribute to decay. Similarly, foods which become packed in the mouth such as breads or starchy treats such as chips contribute to acidity levels in the mouth as naturally occurring bacteria digest these carbohydrates

Patients with sealants must continue to brush and floss their teeth regularly and take reasonable steps to partake of a diet which will support good oral health. This means consuming leafy greens and vegetables high in vitamin and mineral content and limiting the intake of carbohydrates and sweets.

 

Ensuring that your child is offered a nutritious diet and participate in a good oral health routine will maximize their oral health with the assistance of sealants. Ensure that you are seeing your dentist regularly to have the sealants assess and have them rejuvenated if they have eroded.

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