The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research reports that about 21% of children aged 6 to 11 have dental caries on their permanent teeth. Left untreated, the condition could cause tremendous pain and difficulty in chewing food. In severe cases, it could get infected and form a tooth abscess, a collection of pus which can open the floodgates to other harmful infections.
Parents can do their part to prevent this problem by teaching their kids to practice good oral hygiene. Some food particles stick in the teeth’s nooks and crannies can’t be removed with brushing and flossing, however. So, it’s in a patient’s best interest to put another preventive measure in place.
As a leading Bethlehem PA family dentistry clinic, Lasting Smiles of Bethlehem offers another effective way of preventing dental caries among children — dental sealants. Let’s take a deeper look into how these stop cavities in their tracks.
What Are Dental Sealants?
People use the grooves of their teeth to chew food properly. Food particles, however, accumulate on these depressions. When oral bacteria subsequently break the food particles down and produce acid, it wears away the enamel of the teeth. This is the start of dental caries.
To prevent this, dentists apply dental sealants, a thin coating that provides a protective shield over the enamel of the tooth. They’re usually put on the teeth at the back of the mouth, like the premolars and molars, because these often have the deepest grooves and, therefore, are more susceptible to dental caries. Dentists also apply them to the sides of the teeth.
Bear in mind that dental sealants are different from dental fillings. Sealants are a preventive measure and are applied to teeth that don’t have any dental caries. Fillings, on the other hand, are a treatment that restores teeth damaged by cavities.
Are They Safe for Kids?
Dental sealants are safe for kids’ permanent teeth. In fact, our dentists recommend sealants as soon as the molars first come. The first molars emerge at around 6-7 years, and a second set follows at around 12-13 years.
It can be difficult, after all, for children to practice proper brushing and flossing; they might overlook some areas, so they’re more vulnerable to dental cavities than adults. Dental sealants are an added layer of protection against these dental problems.
How Do Dentists Apply Sealants?
Applying sealants are a fairly simple procedure. Our dentists clean the teeth thoroughly, apply an adhesive to the tooth, and then paint the liquid sealant on top of it. The liquid then hardens and creates the protective film.
With proper care, dental sealants can last up to 10 years. Kids, however, need to visit their dentists regularly to check them for chipping or wearing.
Pediatric Dental Sealants
Don’t wait for dental carries to bug your kids and keep them from doing their daily activities. Once the first molars emerge, bring them to Lasting Smiles of Bethlehem PA. Our dentists will apply dental sealants that will protect their teeth from dental cavities. They’ll also give you sound advice on how to take good care of dental sealants, so they last for years.
Add an extra layer of protection to your child’s oral health. Contact us today for more information about our pediatric dental sealants.