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If your child develops a minor cavity, dental sealants can act as a protective shield, preventing further damage or decay. At Parrish Children’s Dentistry in Parrish, Florida, expert dentist Patricia Schnur, DMD, regularly uses dental sealants to prevent the need for other more complicated procedures like fillings and extractions. To schedule an appointment for your child, call the office and speak with a friendly staff member, or book a consultation online.
Dental sealants are a thin plastic coating applied to the chewing surfaces of your child’s back teeth (molars or premolars). The sealant material quickly bonds to the grooves and depressions, forming a protective barrier for the tooth.
If your child brushes and flosses regularly, they can eradicate most of the food particles and plaque from the smooth surfaces of their teeth. However, they may not be able to reach all of the small nooks and crannies at the back of their mouth. Sealants protect the vulnerable areas of your child’s teeth by “sealing out” plaque, food particles, and harmful bacteria.
Children and teenagers are especially susceptible to tooth decay that affects the grooves and depressions of their molars and premolars. Dr. Schnur usually recommends applying sealants right after your child’s permanent teeth come in. This is because teeth are most prone to cavities between the ages of six and 14.
Sealants can also benefit young children who still have their baby teeth. Baby teeth help hold the correct spacing for permanent teeth. If your child loses these teeth too early, it may lead to more serious oral health problems later on.
Following a comprehensive oral exam, a review of your child’s medical history, and a series of oral X-rays, Dr. Schnur can make recommendations for your child.
Getting sealants is a quick, outpatient process that usually takes less than half an hour. On the day of your child’s appointment, Dr. Schnur thoroughly cleans your child’s tooth (or teeth) receiving the sealant. Then, she dries each tooth.
Once each tooth is dry, Dr. Schnur applies an acid solution to the chewing surface. The acid solution makes the surface rough, which helps the sealant bond to the teeth.
Next, Dr. Schnur rinses your child’s teeth, then, she carefully applies a thin layer of sealant to the top of each tooth. Afterward, she points a special light at the material, causing it to dry and harden.
Dental sealants last for about 10 years on average. To extend the lifespan of your child’s sealants, encourage them to brush and floss regularly. They should also avoid bad habits like biting their nails or chewing on ice, which can cause the sealant to crack or chip. To explore dental sealants further, schedule an appointment for your child at Parrish Children’s Dentistry. Call the office and speak with a friendly staff member or book a consultation online today.