Parents! Seal out the cavities in Your Kid’s Teeth
Did you know that sealants are plastic barriers to protect the chewing surfaces of your kids’ permanent molars from decay? The placement of dental sealants involves your dentist bonding a plastic coating into the grooves of your tooth (the tooth’s pits and fissures). The net result is a smoother tooth surface, one which is less likely to trap food and plaque and one which is easier to clean with your toothbrush.
Between 5 and 7 years of age, the first permanent molars erupt. More than 90% of decay occurs in the deep grooves of the chewing surfaces of these molars. When teeth first erupt, the enamel is not completely hardened of calcified, and the teeth are very susceptible to decay. Fluoride treatment and placement of sealants should be done as soon as the molars have erupted and you can see the chewing surface clearly. If a primary (baby) molar has early decay on a chewing surface of their molars, and the child is cooperative, your kids dentist may recommend a sealant. But if this treatment is delayed, and once decay has penetrated the second layer of tooth structure, a filling must be placed. Here in our dental clinic in Makati City, Philippines, the importance of preventive treatment is far more beneficial than doing interceptive treatment since loss of tooth structure is minimized and the dental experience for a child more pleasant.
For one, preventive treatment are usually painless, such in the case of placing sealants. It does require cooperation on the part of the child and parent. Children have a very high flow of saliva, a strong gag reflex, or an inability to open the mouth wide and long enough for access to the molars, thus making the procedure a little bit difficult. Your dentist in Makati will use different methods to manage these situations. But you and your child’s cooperation will help in placing the sealants a success.
There are four six-year molars and four twelve-year molars. Because the teeth do not always come in at the same time, please note that all four permanent molars may not be sealed during one visit.
Your dentist in Makati will have to make sure that the tooth is dry for the sealant to bond tightly to the tooth surface. A tooth preparation gel will be applied for 15 seconds. Afterwards, this is rinsed away with water and air dried. A bonding glue is light cured in the area and then the sealant is applied, usually with a tiny applicator. This is light-cured again to harden the sealant. The light curing machine doesn’t produce heat or any form of sensation on the tooth. The procedure takes only minutes for each tooth. Your child may eat right away.
Sealants don’t last permanently and they do wear out. Retention rates are about 85% over three years. Grinding teeth and chewing ice, popcorn kernels, or hard candy can crack sealants. If a sealant is lost, the tooth is still more protected from decay than if the tooth had never been sealed. Don’t worry, cavities will probably not occur if the lost sealant is replaced during the next 6 month dental check-up, unless your child’s diet is filled with carbohydrates and sweets and oral hygiene is poor, sealants should be replaced as soon as possible since it is almost impossible to predict when or how fast tooth decay progresses.
Sealants are one of the very best things our Philippine dentist in Makati has to offer, not just for kids, but adults as well. Sealing off the chewing surfaces of an adult’s molars will protect it from the continuous acid attack by normal bacteria present in the mouth, since the diet and lifestyle of adults is more extreme than that of children, the acid level in their mouth vary from day to day. Placement of sealants should be a part of everybody’s preventive regimen along with regular dental check ups and oral prophylaxis.