Sealants - Cavity Shields
The shape of a child's tooth can play a significant role in the development of cavities in children. Sometimes, cavities can form because of tiny grooves and crevices in teeth that can be impossible to clean with regular daily oral hygiene, even if a child does a very good job at taking care of their teeth. Fortunately, sealants can minimize or eliminate this problem.
What are Sealants?
Sealants are made of durable plastic that is clear or tooth-colored. A pediatric dentist can apply sealants to teeth that are at high risk for developing cavities due to their location in the mouth or their shape. Typically, sealants are applied to the molars and premolars because of their propensity towards cavities in children. These back teeth, used for chewing, often have tiny fissures in which chewed material can collect. Sealants fill these grooves, thus protecting these at-risk teeth. It is important to note that even after a sealant is applied, it is still critical to brush twice each day and floss daily to maintain good oral health, as well as continue to visit a pediatric dentist once every six months.
What to Expect
A pediatric dentist can apply sealants during a regular dental checkup. The application is quick, painless, and the sealant will be hard by the time the child leaves the office. The tooth or teeth to be sealed are cleaned and dried, and the dentist then applies the sealant in liquid form where it then hardens and adheres to the teeth. At each subsequent visit to the pediatric dentist, the sealants will be checked and reapplied as necessary. With proper diet and daily oral hygiene, sealants can last for years and protect the most cavity-prone teeth from decay.
Sealants are a common and effective form of preventative care, and can save children and their families from the discomfort and costs of cavity treatment down the line. Maintaining regular visits to a pediatric dentist will help them monitor your child's teeth to determine if sealants are indicated for your child.