Cavities happen, especially to young children. But your dentist has a way to prevent cavities with dental sealants.
Getting a cavity filled tops the list as one of the most commonly performed dental procedures. But what if there were a way to prevent cavities altogether?
Dental sealants can protect vulnerable teeth from decay. Although sealants are recommended for young children and adolescents, they can be used on anyone at any age prone to decay. Read on to learn about dental sealants and how they can help you or your child avoid cavities.
What are dental sealants?
When the bacteria in the sticky plaque covering your teeth mix with the sugars in the foods you eat, the result is an acidic substance that burrows in the tooth’s enamel and forms a pit or hole. That’s a cavity, and it’s usually treated by cleaning the decay and plugging the hole with a filling.
Yet dental sealants can shield teeth from decay. And a tooth without decay is always stronger than one with a filled cavity.
To combat cavities, a thin coating, or sealant, is often applied to back molars with a lot of nooks and crannies where bacteria and food particles can hide. And because they are located in the back of the mouth, these molars are difficult to clean, thereby giving decay a chance to thrive.
Since young children and adolescents between the ages of six and 14 have a higher incidence of cavities, those are the target age groups for sealants. By then, their molars and premolars have come in and are ready for sealants.
The application process is simple and painless. Here’s what to expect during the sealant procedure:
- The teeth are thoroughly cleaned and dried.
- An etching solution may be applied to the teeth to create a stronger bond between the teeth and the sealant. However, this may not be done in every case.
- The teeth are again rinsed and dried.
- The sealant is then painted onto the teeth, where it hardens and bonds with the teeth. A curing light may also be used to stiffen the sealant.
What are the advantages of dental sealants?
There are plenty of advantages! First, dental sealants are proven cavity fighters. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports sealants reduce the risk of cavities by 80 percent for two years. The protection continues for four years, during which time the chance of cavity drops to 50 percent. And what’s more, sealants are cheaper than getting a cavity filled.
They’re also long-lasting, with a lifespan of up to nine years. Yet sealants have been known to fall off, so it’s essential to have your dentist check them regularly for any signs of damage. If a sealant is lost, it can be replaced.
As effective as they are, sealants are only one weapon against cavities. Teach your child how to take care of their teeth by having them brush and floss daily. Increase their fluoride intake by using a fluoridated toothpaste. Instead of bottled water, give your child tap water fortified with fluoride. And steer them away from sweets to healthier options, such as fruits and vegetables.
Most importantly, get them to see the dentist at least twice a year. Although they may be fearful at first, children will become comfortable with the dentist the more often they visit and realize it’s not scary at all.
Let’s fight cavities together
Schedule an appointment at Espire’s Colorado Springs location today! Our highly trained dentists will help you and your whole family fight cavities with sealants and other methods. Don’t live near our Colorado Springs office? Find one of our other locations near you.
8610 Explorer Dr. #315
Colorado Springs, CO 80920