Here at Children’s Dentistry in Central Florida, Dr. Troy King often recommends protecting your child’s teeth with a dental sealant.  In this week’s article, we will inspect five of the most interesting features of dental sealants.  We like to call theses features “secrets” because sometimes a procedure seems mysterious until you examine the facts behind it.

Sealant Secret Number 1—A Basic Definition of Sealants

To put it simply, “Dental sealants are thin plastic coatings that are applied to the grooves on the chewing surfaces of the back teeth to protect them from tooth decay.”

Did you know that 80 to 100 percent of the possible cavities in your child’s future could be avoided if the teeth are protected with a dental sealant?

Sometimes, parents are quite surprised at how easily and reasonably a treatment with a dental sealant can protect their child against cavities.  Likewise this treatment can help you avoid expensive dental procedures in the years to come.

Secret in the Sealant Number 2–How Sealants Work:

If you could see the surfaces of your child’s teeth through a high-powered microscope, you would see a that a tooth has a landscape of crevices, pits aSealants help but I still brush well! nd fissures.

These tiny grooves, indentions and scratches on the surface of your child’s teeth provide ideal places for germs and bits of food to linger and pack into the tooth.  Add to this the fact that many young children simply do not brush well enough, to remove the threat of dental decay.

Dr. Mary Hayes, a pediatric dentistry spokeswoman for the American Dental Association, stated that children of ages 2, 3 or 4 have not yet developed “the fine motor skills to clean their teeth.  They can put the toothbrush into their mouth, but they don’t clean off the plaque.”  In turn this can cause decay, cavities, infection and pain.  Cavities lead to drilling, filling, and crowning.

According to the American Academy of General Dentistry, “Surveys show the majority of all cavities occur in the narrow pits and grooves of a child’s newly erupted teeth because food particles and bacteria are not easily cleaned out.”

However a good sealant procedure can smoothly fill and protect impossibly tiny, deep fissures and pits.  With the sealant, coating the tooth, bacteria and decay can not attack.

Secret in the Sealant, Number 3–A Primer of the Procedure for the Application of Dental Sealants:

The process for applying a sealant to your child’s teeth is not painful or surgical.  No drilling is involved and no injections, so it is actually quite a pleasant procedure for your child.  Pediatric dentists who know the secrets of sealants realize that the dental sealant must be scrupulously applied with accurate technique to be effective.  Here at Children’s Dentistry, Dr. King is experienced, gentle and patient. He explains the ABCs of every step he takes:

a.   He meticulously makes certain the surface of the tooth is sparkling clean.
b.  He gently dries each tooth, and then tucks fine cotton padding around it.  Maintaining the dryness of the tooth is critical.Childrent need a sealant for decay protection.
c.   He puts a special solution on the tooth that prepares and microscopically roughens the surface so the sealant will stick.
d.  Then he rinses and dries the tooth again.  Once more he surrounds it with fresh cotton and keeps it dry.
e.  Finally, with steady precision and utmost care, Dr. King artfully applies the liquid sealant to the the tiny fissures, dips and pits that mark the surface of the tooth.
f.  Within moments it transforms from a liquid to a hard protective surface.  (The bond seems like magic, but it’s science!)
g.  Your child will probably be completely unimpressed.  The sealant is practically invisible in its transparency.  There is no pain or down-time after the procedure.  In fact, the most a child might feel with his or her tongue, is a slightly different texture.

Remarkably, this treatment might remain effective for 5 to 10 years, although it must be monitored and maintained at your child’s regular dental check-ups.  The sealant can be “repaired,” if Dr. King observes new pits or crevices during a regular dental exam.

Secret in the Sealant Number 4—Proven Protection Against Cavities:

Over his years of experience with children, Dr. King and his staff at Children’s Dentistry have come to believe in dental sealants as a part of a tried-and-true treatment to prevent decay.  Years of research have reinforced our opinion.

Mark Ritz, DDS, MAGD, and a spokesperson for the Academy of General Dentistry, stated, “Studies show that many children are exceptional candidates for dental sealants.”  He added, “Parents should consider sealants as a preventive measure in their child’s oral health and discuss this option with their dentist.”

Secret in the Sealant Number 5—Sealant is not Enough:Sealant is Protection from Decay

Treatment with a sealant is actually only part of your child’s overall dental health protection plan.  Other elements, less mysterious but equally important to your child’s dental health, include:  good oral hygiene, a healthy diet, Fluoride treatments and regular dental check-ups here at Children’s Dentistry, your child’s dental home in Orlando and Central Florida.

Thank you for reading this week’s blog, and please visit us again every week to 10 days for more trending news.  We bring you information to help keep your child’s smile healthy for a life-time.