What are Dental Sealants?
To get kids through their cavity-prone years, dental sealants are used as a preventive way to stop bacteria from accumulating in the deep pit and grooves on tooth surfaces. A plastic liquid is extruded or brushed onto these hard-to-clean, food trap areas where it then flows into all the deep areas then hardened with a special curing light. They effectively, “seal out” tooth decay by eliminating the place where food and bacteria can collect.
“Sealants are a GOLD STANDARD in preventive oral health.”
Properly placed dental sealants are very effective in preventing tooth decay along the surfaces they cover. By preventing bacterial plaque from coming in contact with these surfaces, sealants can help children get safely through their cavity prone years. In doing so, your child will have a chance to master their dental hygiene habits more thoroughly and learn to become more responsible with their food choices and meal frequencies.
What Teeth are Sealed?
Sealants are usually placed on 6 and 12 year molars, although any tooth that have deep pitted areas or grooves can benefit from this protective measure. Permanent adult molars are the most common teeth that are sealed because the biting surfaces of these teeth are at the greatest risk for decay since they have deep grooves that easily allow food and bacteria to accumulate. Dental plaque produces an acid by-product that is strong enough to erode away tooth enamel.
Even the most conscientious toothbrusher has difficulty thoroughly cleaning these deep crevices. And since our Canadian diet is rich in refined carbohydrates (sugars) and involves eating more frequently throughout each day, it takes very little time for acid from bacterial plaque to eat holes into the teeth if they are allowed to stay lodged in these tiny crevices. By sealing out these areas, the opportunity for decay is prevented.
Although sealants do wear down over time and at different rates in different people, they are very durable and can withstand daily chewing forces. It is very important, however, that patients still maintain regular visits to their dentist to ensure that their sealants remain in good condition. Your dental provider will monitor the integrity of your sealants to ensure they are intact and are not showing signs of wear. Wear can allow food and germs to accumulate under a defective sealant, and if left undetected, a cavity can form and spread under this area.
Ask your dentist about Dental Sealants and #SealOutDecay!