As a parent you may wonder why dental sealants are recommended for children. Children are more prone to cavities, primarily due to their lack of brushing and flossing skills, but also their fondness for sweets. The back teeth or molars, with their intricate network of pits and fissures, are especially likely to trap food and harbor plaque, leading to tooth decay. Even with diligent brushing, these hard-to-reach grooves are challenging to clean effectively.

Dental sealants provide a solution to this problem. They are thin, plastic coatings applied to the chewing surfaces of teeth, enhancing their resistance to decay. By reducing the depth of pits and fissures, sealants prevent food particles and plaque from getting trapped. That makes teeth cleaning easier. Research shows that dental sealants can reduce tooth decay in molars by up to 70%, making sealants a significant preventive measure in pediatric dentistry.

The Dental Sealants Procedure

The process of applying dental sealants is quick, painless, and non-invasive.

  • Examination and Cleaning: The dentist first examines the teeth to ensure no decay is present. Then, the teeth are thoroughly cleaned to prepare for the sealant application.
  • Etching: A mild etching solution is applied to the tooth surface, creating a slightly rough texture that helps the sealant adhere more effectively.
  • Rinsing and Drying: The etching solution is rinsed off, and the tooth is dried.
  • Applying Sealant: The dentist or dental hygienist then applies the sealant, a liquid material, onto the tooth’s surface. It flows into the pits and fissures of the tooth.
  • Hardening the Sealant: A special curing light is used to harden the sealant, usually within a minute. Once hardened, the sealant becomes a hard plastic varnish.

Maintenance After Sealants

While sealants form a protective shield over the teeth, they don’t negate the need for good oral hygiene. Children should continue to brush twice a day, floss daily, and maintain a healthy diet. Regular dental check-ups are also necessary to ensure the sealants are intact and providing effective protection.

Dental sealants are most useful in the first four years after application, but can last significantly longer with proper care. During routine dental visits, the dentist checks the condition of the sealants and can reapply them if they’re worn or chipped, ensuring ongoing protection against decay.

Contact Us About Dental Sealants

If you’re interested in the possibility of obtaining sealants for your child, make an appointment at the Tahquitz Dental Group in Palm Springs today, and we’d be happy to discuss your options.

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