Whether it’s acidic orange slices after a soccer game or sugary gummy snacks in their brown bag lunch, children’s teeth encounter plenty of foods and drinks that can contribute to tooth decay. In fact, tooth decay is the most common chronic disease for children ages 6 to 19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Brushing every day and regular trips to a family dentist in Lakeway can help prevent cavities from forming, but children can benefit from an extra level of dental protection, especially as they are still learning proper dental hygiene habits. For parents wanting to protect their children’s little smiles, dental sealants are an excellent option to consider – as this blog post below will explain.
A dental sealant is a thin, plastic coating painted onto the grooves on the chewing surfaces of the teeth in the back of the mouth. The plastic coating acts as a protective barrier to seal out food particles and germs and prevent tooth decay.
Young children usually have no trouble sitting through the dental sealant procedure, which takes place at the dentist’s office and is often quick and painless. First, a dental professional will thoroughly clean and dry the tooth. Next, a special gel is applied to roughen up the tooth’s chewing surface, which helps the sealant bond to the tooth. Once the gel has dried, the sealant resin is painted onto the tooth enamel and hardened by a special curing light.
Going forward, a dentist will examine sealants for chipping or severe wear and tear during regular dental checkups. If needed, sealants can easily be replaced by a dental professional.
The crevices on the back teeth are an easy trap for small bits of food and can be difficult to thoroughly clean with a toothbrush. A sealant provides an extra layer of dental protection by keeping food particles and bacteria from getting stuck in the small grooves on the chewing surfaces of molars and pre-molars.
Sealants are especially important for protecting the oral health of young children, who may be more likely to eat sugary foods that can cause cavities. Dental sealants can protect teeth from cavities for up to 10 years, providing a shield against tooth decay during critical early years while a child is still developing good oral hygiene habits.
As soon as secondary teeth erupt from the gums, they are vulnerable to tooth decay. To help prevent cavities from forming, it is a good idea to have a dentist apply sealants as soon as your child’s molars come in – usually between the ages of 6 and 12 years old.
Dental sealants alone will not guarantee a cavity-free mouth, but in combination with daily brushing and flossing, a healthy diet and regular dental checkups with a Lakeway dentist, they can help your child maintain a happy and healthy smile.
About the Author
Dr. Winston Eaddy has decades of experience in delivering excellent oral health care to families and individuals in the Lakeway community. Along with his son, Dr. Daniel Eaddy, he leads the team at Eaddy Dentistry in caring for all the general, cosmetic, restorative and emergency dental needs of residents and neighbors in a comfortable environment and at affordable rates. If you are still wondering if your child would benefit from dental sealants, visit the Eaddy Dentistry website today or call the office at (512) 263-4252.