According to a report published by the Centers for Disease Control in 2014, 60 percent of all adolescents have experienced tooth decay and cavities. If left untreated, cavities can lead to infections and even cause problems eating, speaking and learning.
Fighting cavities is clearly important, and dental sealants from Evanson DDS are one proven method. Learn more about the power of sealants and whether your child is a candidate.
How do Sealants Prevent Tooth Decay?
The chewing surfaces of teeth have pits and grooves that are incredibly difficult, if not impossible, to clean. Food remnants stick around for a long time because even thorough brushing can’t get deep enough to sweep them away. Food particles react with bacteria in your mouth, forming acids that break down tooth enamel and cause cavities. A vast majority of tooth decay occurs this way.
Sealants prevent tooth decay by covering jagged molar bite surfaces. It’s easy for a toothbrush to sweep away food from the smoother sealant surface. Even if a small cavity is accidentally covered, the decay won’t spread because the sealant cuts it off from its food supply.
How are Sealants Applied?
Dental sealants are clear plastic coatings painted on the chewing surface and backside of the teeth. The process is simple and painless:
- The tooth is cleaned and dried. Cotton is placed around the tooth so it stays dry.
- A solution is applied to the tooth to roughen the surface and make adhesion more effective.
- The tooth is rinsed and dried, and a fresh cotton strip is placed around the tooth.
- Liquid sealant is applied to the tooth, which hardens in just a few seconds.
- The sealant is now in place and will remain effective for several years.
How Long do Sealants Last?
Trials performed by the CDC found dental sealants to reduce decay in permanent molars by 81 percent two years after placement and more than 70 percent after three years. A single application can last up to 10 years, as long as the dental sealants continue to cover pits and grooves where the majority of tooth decay occurs. That’s why it’s important to have the sealants checked during routine dental appointments.
Who Should Get Sealants?
Parents, consider having sealants applied on your child’s teeth as soon as permanent ones come in. This protects against decay and prevents cavities from ever forming. Good candidates include:
- 5- to 7-year-olds whose first permanent molars have just erupted.
- 11- to 14-year-olds whose second set of permanent molars have just erupted.
- Patients with particularly pitted and grooved teeth.
- Teens and young adults with cavity-prone teeth.
Adults don’t usually get sealants because the deep pits and grooves found on young teeth typically smooth out with age. If you’re already past the cavity-prone child and adolescent years, sealants aren’t as effective anymore. However, it’s possible for some adult teeth to retain their pitted nature even as time goes on. In these cases, sealants may be an appropriate precaution.
Are Sealants Appropriate for Baby Teeth?
Even if your child doesn’t have their permanent teeth yet, cavities in baby teeth can damage the gums and cause quite a bit of pain. Baby teeth also act as place holders for permanent teeth, so it’s important to keep them healthy so they don’t fall out early. Dental sealants are a cost-effective way to protect baby teeth from cavities and avoid fillings, crowns and caps needed to restore decayed teeth.
The American Dental Association (ADA) Council on Scientific Affairs recommends dental sealants for children and adolescents to help prevent tooth decay. Still, the CDC states, less than one-third of children eligible for sealants have had them applied.
Don’t miss out on the great benefits of dental sealants! Contact Evanson DDS online or call us at (720) 409-0008 to learn more about dental sealants or to set up an appointment.Leave a reply →