Cavities were once a right of passage for young children who hadn’t yet learned the importance of brushing and flossing daily, as a fondness for sugary treats and a willingness to pretend they had brushed prior to bedtime made rampant tooth decay a real possibility for many. However, over the last 20 years, the number of children who suffer from tooth decay and cavities has seen a dramatic decline. Since children today don’t take their oral health more seriously than previous generations, this decrease in the number of cavities can be attributed to better preventative dental care, specifically the increased use of dental sealants.
How Do Sealants Work?
Dental sealants work as a barrier that prevent cavities from developing in hard to reach places of the mouth that young children may not pay enough attention to while brushing. Sealants are generally made from a durable plastic compound that dentists apply to the surfaces of a child’s back molars where decay occurs most frequently.
Even though brushing and flossing still rank as the most effective means of preventing tooth decay and gum disease, sealants help to protect vulnerable areas in the back molars by “sealing out” food particles and plaque from grooves and depressions that frequently become areas of decay. While children can still develop cavities in other areas of the mouth if they fail to brush daily, dental sealants dramatically reduce a child’s risk of decay when applied at a young age.
How Are Sealants Applied?
A painless and hassle free cosmetic dental procedure, sealants are incredibly easy for Beaverton dentist Dr. Scott Walker to apply. Once a child’s teeth have been thoroughly cleaned, Dr. Walker will apply the sealant onto a child’s tooth enamel, where it then bonds directly with the tooth as it hardens. The plastic resin compound used in sealants settles into and bonds with the individual grooves and depressions of a child’s tooth. The sealant then acts as an invisible barrier, protecting each tooth from acids and bacteria. The surface of a tooth will remain protected from decay for as long as the sealant remains intake.
Due to their durable nature, dental sealants hold up remarkably well under the constant strain of chewing and can last for a number of years prior to a reapplication being needed. During each routine checkup, Dr. Walker will monitor your child’s sealants to determine if they remain intact and whether the treatment needs repeating.
Do Sealants Change a Child’s Smile?
Dental sealants are designed to closely match a tooth’s natural color, with some recent versions actually appearing clear. This makes dental sealants nearly invisible to anyone not looking closely, and guarantees they don’t alter how a child’s teeth appear when he or she talks or smiles.
Despite the protections they provide, dental sealants are quite thin and only occupy the grooves and pits of a child’s molars. While your child may notice his teeth feel a little different immediately following the application of sealants, this sensation will quickly fade once the child has gotten used to the new sensation.
If you have any questions about the benefits of dental sealants, talk with Dr. Walker, to decide if sealants would be a good fit for your child. Call the best choice for family dental care Beaverton has today!