Sealants for Kids
You work with your child to help them brush and floss their teeth. Even if your child does brush and floss every day, though, kids often have a more difficult time effectively cleaning all areas of their mouth. This leaves them vulnerable to the development of tooth decay and cavities. One area of the mouth particularly vulnerable is the chewing surfaces of the molars. These surfaces have deep crevices that can easily collect plaque and bacteria and can be very difficult to clean out thoroughly. At North Atlanta Family Dentistry, we can help to protect the chewing surfaces of the molars with sealants for kids.
How Do Cavities Form?
Cavities are the result of untreated tooth decay. Decay forms when acids from plaque, bacteria, and certain types of foods and beverages, erode your tooth enamel. This erosion causes weak spots in your teeth. Early stages of decay can be reversed. However, if the decay is left untreated, the weak spots eventually turn into small pits in your teeth or cavities.
Cavities cannot be reversed. Instead, they need to be treated, which is typically done with a filling. Without treatment, cavities grow larger, compromising the strength of the affected tooth and leaving it vulnerable to infections. Infections that form in baby teeth as a result of an untreated cavity can affect the adult tooth developing underneath.
What are Sealants?
Sealants are a treatment that involves the application of a synthetic material, plastic, onto the surfaces of the molars. They function to cover over the deep crevices and grooves in these teeth, effectively preventing food particles, bacteria, and plaque from accumulating in them. At the same time, by covering over the grooves and crevices on the molars, these teeth are made easier to keep clean.
How are Sealants Placed?
Getting sealants is a quick, simple, completely painless process. Your child does not need any local anesthesia for this treatment, which means no needles. We begin by thoroughly cleaning the molars. Next, an acid etch is applied to their surfaces. This is done to create a rough texture on the teeth so that the sealant material can more effectively bond with the teeth. The acid is washed off, and the teeth are thoroughly dried. Next, the sealant material is applied to the teeth and dried using a special light. Once the material has been dried, sealants begin providing your child with immediate protection.
How Long Will the Sealants Last?
Even though sealants use plastic to cover the tops of the molars, they are quite strong. They can withstand a significant amount of daily wear and tear. With proper care, sealants can last your child many years. If the sealants are damaged, they can easily be replaced.
While sealants are an effective preventative measure for helping your child to prevent cavities on the chewing surfaces of their molars, they are only effective when used in conjunction with good oral hygiene practices. Sealants only protect the areas over which they are applied. Cavities can still develop in other areas of the teeth. Help your child to maintain a good oral hygiene routine, including brushing and flossing daily as well as making routine dental appointments for cleanings and exams.
Sealants help to provide additional protection against the formation of tooth decay and cavities, helping your child to maintain a happy, healthy mouth. For more information about sealants, and to schedule an appointment for your child, call North Atlanta Family Dentistry at (470) 387-0500 today.