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How Dental Sealants Can Be Your Child’s Armor Against Tooth Decay

Dental sealants provide a protective layer over the teeth, preventing decay. Sealants are more commonly used on the back teeth since many children have a difficult time removing food particles from those tight spaces. If your child has trouble brushing their teeth, has ongoing dental issues, or you want to take a proactive approach to their oral health, sealants can be a great, affordable, and pain-free option for children around the age of six.

How Dental Sealants Can Be Your Child’s Armor Against Tooth Decay 

Sugar and starch particles can remain in the mouth after eating or drinking, mixing with the oral acids and bacteria, producing plaque. Unfortunately, this can result in cavities and eroded tooth enamel.

Sealants can provide extra protection and help prevent harmful plaque buildup since they flow into the small spaces between the teeth and into the small grooves of the teeth, completely covering the enamel.

How Dental Sealants Work

Sealants work as a protective shield and consist of plastic coatings that are placed on the surface of the back teeth to prevent tooth decay. Since the acids in the mouth cannot penetrate the thin plastic coating, cavities can be prevented.

Dental sealants are often applied to permanent molars soon after they have erupted through the gums. However, they can also be applied to the smooth surfaces of incisors and premolars.

Knowing When Your Child is Ready for Dental Sealants

Sealants for kids’ teeth can be the perfect solution for children who struggle with good oral hygiene habits. Children who do not properly brush their teeth, kids that often forget to brush their teeth, and those with very deep grooves in their molars are good candidates for sealants. Some children’s teeth are also more prone to decay, such as children with enamel hypoplasia, which is a condition that causes abnormally thin enamel. People with enamel hypoplasia may require dental sealants on baby and adult teeth.

Oral health can be a big concern for special needs children. A child with special needs often struggles with proper oral hygiene practices and may experience issues with dental health. Fortunately, sealants can prevent some dental issues.

Additionally, if a child often breathes through their mouth they may also benefit from dental sealants. Saliva works to fight cavity-causing bacteria, helping to protect the teeth from decay. Mouth breathing can dry out saliva, putting the child at a higher risk of tooth decay.

If you notice that your child is not brushing properly, they breathe through their mouth, or they are already experiencing plaque buildup or cavities, it’s important to speak to their dentist about sealants on baby teeth and permanent teeth to determine if they are an ideal candidate for the treatment.

How Dental Sealants Are Applied

Applying dental sealants is not painful or uncomfortable, so the mouth does not need to be numbed prior to treatment. When dental sealants are applied, a dentist first cleans and dries the teeth. Next, an acidic solution is applied to the teeth to encourage a secure bonding of the sealant by roughing up the surface. After the solution is applied, the teeth are rinsed and dried an additional time, before the sealant is brushed onto a tooth’s chewing surface. In some cases, a curing light may be used, however, sealants often harden instantly, bonding to the tooth’s surface.

How Long Does This Armor Last?

Sealants can last for up to ten years, however, they should be checked regularly for signs of wear. Sealants can be reapplied if extensive wear is found. When sealants wear down, they can break or chip, allowing bacteria to reach the chewing surface. Regular dental care can help ensure the sealants are intact and able to do their job.

Contact Stuart Curry Dentistry Today to Schedule an Appointment

While good oral hygiene practices are a better preventative against tooth decay, younger children can benefit from this added level of protection to keep their teeth strong and healthy. Join the Stuart Curry Dentistry family for exceptional general and cosmetic dental care in Birmingham, Alabama. Proudly serving Vestavia Hills and the surrounding areas – call us today to schedule your appointment!

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