Kids Dentist, Pediatric Dentist
At Polkadot Pediatric Dentistry, children are our priority, and helping them achieve and keep a healthy and happy smile is our passion. Today we want to talk about the importance of tooth decay.
Contrary to popular belief, tooth decay can also affect children. Tooth decay is one of the most frequent chronic pediatric illnesses in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
In addition, children are more likely than adults to develop dental decay. A child’s baby teeth have thinner and more sensitive enamel than adult teeth. Tooth decay occurs when bacteria break down sugars into acids, which harm tooth structures, much as it does in humans.
As a result, it’s critical to ensure that your child doesn’t ingest excessive amounts of sugary foods or beverages and that they regularly brush their teeth.
Even while baby teeth eventually fall out, it is still important to keep them healthy. Baby teeth are necessary for chewing and speaking, but they also serve as placeholders for adult teeth. Adult teeth may not come in properly if baby teeth are lost too early due to decay.
As a parent, you may be wondering how you can prevent cavities from happening in your child’s mouth. The truth is that every youngster is prone to tooth decay, whether it is inherited or caused by an overabundance of sweets in the diet. The concern isn’t that a youngster gets a cavity but rather that a pediatric dentist does not treat the cavity.
What Are Dental Sealants?
“Dental sealants are a clear coat of plastic applied to the grooved and pitted surfaces of teeth,” says Dr. Nanna.
“The most common place sealants are applied is on the chewing surfaces of the back teeth, where it can be harder for children to brush properly.”
Even for people who pay close attention to their dental hygiene, it’s next to impossible to properly clean out all the grooves and pits of the teeth. And for children who may not always take the time they need while brushing. Food and bacteria can then build up, leading to decay and cavities.
But with dental sealants, your child’s teeth are protected against plaque and decay. And if properly cared for, they provide a layer of protection for many years.
“It’s very important to apply sealants before the cavity-prone years,” says Dr. Nanna. “It’s quick and only takes one visit to my office to have the sealant painted on. Your children will feel no discomfort during the process.”
In truth, dental sealants are not exclusive to children; anyone can get this treatment to avoid decay on their teeth. Of course, dental sealants alone are not enough to prevent cavities, but they will help minimize the risk of accumulated food debris in the grooves of your teeth.
You should still be mindful of your child’s habits of brushing their teeth and flossing daily. The best way to deal with dental health complications is to prevent them altogether. We will happily help your children with treatments that reinforce their teeth, such as fluoride and dental sealants. However, we should never underestimate the importance of good dental hygiene habits.
What Are The Types of Sealants?
Technically, sealants are a combination of chemicals, fillers, and resins. The two most common types of dental sealants used in preventive dentistry are glass ionomers and composite resin fillings. Each material has differences that pediatric dentists have to consider before settling for one treatment or another.
Some materials may be more resistant to wear; others may more readily flow into the pits and fissures of your child’s teeth. But regardless of the option you choose for treatment, you should know that they are perfectly safe.
Some people are worried that the child’s body can absorb the sealant materials and that this may result in harm, but you can find credible studies that discredit these concerns.
These dental sealants will not release fluoride over time, so they don’t provide any additional benefits to your child’s tooth enamel layers. They can be tooth-colored to blend in naturally in the child’s mouth.
We use a resin that gets bonded to your teeth with a dental curing light. The process of crying the sealants with light is quick. Keep in mind that they are susceptible to moisture. Still, you can leave those concerns to professionals like us!
This treatment option is more durable than the glass ionomer counterpart we mention below. However, you should still take your child to their pediatric dentist frequently to make sure that all is going well with the treatment.
This alternative to treatment is a more flexible paste that we can use for baby teeth. We do not cure this compound with light; instead, we have to mix two components to create an acid-base reaction over the patient’s teeth.
This flexible paste gets bonded to the teeth. It slowly releases fluoride strengthening the tooth’s enamel for a long time. Glass Ionomer sealants are not as durable as their resin counterparts. Still, they do provide significantly better caries-prevention benefits during the treatment.
Glass ionomer materials blend very well with a patient’s natural tooth color, so many people prefer these as a functional and good-looking treatment.
When Should A Child Get Dental Sealants?
Because a pediatric dentist’s area of expertise is primarily younger patients, we would recommend that parents ask about dental sealants when their first permanent molars erupt.
Your child can also get dental sealants for their primary teeth, which is an excellent way of complementing their dental hygiene routine. Nevertheless, we would emphasize the importance of preventing decay in permanent teeth like a child’s first and second molars.
A child’s molar teeth usually erupt around ages 6 and 12, so marking your calendars for those occasions might help in planning to ensure your child’s good dental health. Teens are also good candidates for this treatment, but you will have better results the earlier you get dental sealants for your child.
What are the Risks of Dental Sealants in Children?
Sealants also contain a small amount of bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical commonly found in plastics. According to Mayo Clinic, many parents avoid BPA products since they are related to health concerns in children and babies. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), there is no proof that BPA in dental sealants causes any health problems.
The only possible negative side effect of sealant on your teeth is an allergic reaction. The good news is that dental sealant reactions are uncommon. It’s usually a good idea to discuss any allergies you may have with your dentist. Whether you need sealants or not, this is a crucial step to take.
Can Adults Get Dental Sealants?
Cavities are most frequent in children between six and fourteen, but this does not indicate that adults are immune to them. Cavities can affect anyone at any age, especially if they neglect their oral hygiene or consume many sugary foods and beverages. Even if you don’t have any cavities or decay, sealants can are used as a preventative strategy. Adult molars with minor tooth decay can also apply sealants to prevent future decay and cavities. Dentists can’t apply dental sealants to teeth with fillings already in place.
How Does A Pediatric Dentist Apply Dental Sealants?
The application of sealants is a quick and straightforward procedure that requires some cooperation from the child so that the tooth remains dry during its placement. Here are the basic steps:
- Typically your child’s dentist will place a mouth pillow prop in your child’s mouth to assist in keeping your child’s mouth open so that the tooth receiving the sealant does not get moist from the surrounding tissues and tongue during accidental closure. A few cotton rolls may also be placed in your child’s mouth to isolate the tooth receiving the sealant from the tongue, cheeks, and saliva. When the tooth is kept dry, this allows better long-term retention of the sealant.
- The tooth is then thoroughly cleaned with a special shampoo so the dentist isn’t sealing any debris or bacteria against the teeth.
- Afterward, a primer layer is placed, followed by the hardened sealant material using a special curing light.
After its placement, the teeth may feel slippery, but once your child eats normally, the surfaces will even out, and they won’t even realize the sealants are present. We will then evaluate your child’s sealants at each of their cleaning appointments to make sure they are still present or if they need any touch-ups.
After the dental sealants are put in place correctly, they can last up to ten years with proper care. They can be an excellent way to stop spreading cavities because they serve as a protective layer between teeth and plaque. However, since they go on the top of the teeth, it’s still extremely important to brush and floss between teeth. If damaged or removed, a dentist can replace dental sealants.
How Long do Sealants Last?
Sealants can last for many years. It is important to maintain routine dental exams and teeth cleaning appointments when your children have dental sealants to be monitored to ensure they continue to provide optimum protection. If portions of the sealants have worn away over time, we can remove the remainder and reapply the new sealant to the entire chewing surface if necessary.
It is crucial to keep in mind that sealants don’t last forever. If they aren’t monitored and redone periodically, the product designed to help protect your children’s teeth from decay can create a haven for them.
At Polkadot Pediatric Dentistry in Alpharetta, we can help you decide whether dental sealants are the right choice for your child. Depending on their tooth size and shape, our Pediatric Dentist in Roswell, Dr. Nanna, would be happy to place dental sealants on your child’s teeth. Please contact us to set up your appointment with your pediatric dentist for more information.
You Can Get Your Dental Sealants With Us!
Dr. Nanna Ariaban and the team at Polkadot Pediatric Dentistry love helping kids maintain their good dental health. We like assisting kids in improving their brushing and flossing techniques and helping parents protect their children’s teeth.
We know you try your best to teach your children everything there is to know about adequately brushing their teeth, flossing once a day, and how much toothpaste to use. Still, we encourage you to ask a professional pediatric dentist about treatments that strengthen your child’s teeth.
You can get such treatments in our office, like fluoride treatment or dental sealants. Make sure you give us a call or follow this link to set an appointment online. We will be happy to help you and your family protect your children’s teeth!