Sealing Tooth Decay

Dental sealants are an effective way to prevent childhood tooth decay.  Tooth decay is becoming more prevalent in preschoolers.  It is unpleasant and painful and may lead to more serious problems like tooth loss and childhood gum disease.  In combination with other preventive measures like good brushing and flossing habits and regular dental checkups, sealants can reinforce the mouth’s natural defenses and keep teeth healthy.

How do sealants protect teeth?
 Dental sealants are used to protect molars from oral bacteria and acids.  Molars are larger flatter teeth in the back of the mouth and can be hard to clean.  Four out of five instances of tooth decay appear in the molars.  Decay-causing bacteria is often found in the grooves on a molar’s surface.  A sealant acts like a barrier making sure that food particles and bacteria cannot get to the vulnerable tooth enamel.

If a child is determined to be at high risk for tooth decay, the dentist may decide to coat additional teeth with sealant.

Sealants should not be used as a substitute for good oral hygiene or for fluoride.

How are sealants applied?
 A sealant is a liquid that is painted onto the teeth and then allowed to dry.  Some sealants are pink when wet but clear when they dry.  Sealants are either left to self-harden or a blue spectrum light is used.  The sealing process is painless and the result is a thin, hard, invisible layer that protects the teeth.

When should a child get sealants?
 Sealants generally are applied on primary teeth when the molars first erupt.  It is recommended that permanent molars be sealed as soon as they erupt as well.

Depending on the child’s dental oral habits, the sealants on a primary tooth may last until it falls out.  The condition of sealants must be monitored at twice-yearly checkups.  If the seal begins to lift or crack, food debris can get trapped against the tooth causing decay.

Dr Yash sees patients of all ages.  If you have any questions or concerns about your child’s dental health please call or contact our office.