There are many things that you and your dentist can do to help your children have strong, healthy teeth; one of those things is using dental sealant for children.
Dental sealant is a thin coating made from special plastic that is applied to the grooves on the chewing surfaces of the teeth in the back of the mouth. The back teeth are the ones that are most likely to show signs of decay, so it is important to take this extra step to help protect them. Sealant helps keep food particles and germs from getting stuck in the grooves of these teeth, which can cause decay.
The sealant is usually applied as soon as your child's permanent molars come in between the ages of 6 and 12 years old. Once those molars have erupted, it is a good idea to have your dentist apply the sealant as soon as possible.
Sealants are applied at the dentist's office, and the procedure is often fast and painless. There is no drilling or removal of any part of the tooth structure during the process. First, the tooth is cleaned and dried, and then coated with a special gel. When the gel dries, the tooth is then brushed with sealant resin, which is then also allowed to dry. Sealants can be white, clear, or slightly tinted to match the color of the tooth, and are not typically noticed when you laugh, talk, or smile.
These sealants often last for 5 to 10 years and should be checked by your child's dentist when you take him in for regular visits. Using dental sealant for children, combined with good oral hygiene habits, healthy eating, and regular professional dental cleanings, is a great way to help keep your child's teeth healthy and strong throughout their lives.
What to Expect During a SEALANT Procedure
Placing dental sealants is usually painless and doesn't require drilling or numbing medications.
Tooth preparation – first, the dental hygienist will polish the surface of the tooth to remove plaque and food debris from the pit and fissure surfaces. Next the hygienist will isolate and dry the tooth. Then the hygienist will etch the surface of the tooth, rinse off the etching material and dry the tooth.
Sealant application – the hygienist will apply the dental sealant material to the surface of the tooth with a brush; a self-curing light will be used for about 30 seconds to bond the sealant to the tooth surface.
Evaluation – finally, the dental hygienist and dentist will evaluate the dental sealant and check its occlusion. Once the dental sealant has hardened it becomes a hard plastic coating, and you can chew on the tooth again.
If you want to help your child protect their teeth with an extra layer of defense, contact Key West Dental in St. Charles, Missouri to discuss tooth sealants for children.