Monday, November 25, 2013

Dental Sealants for Kids

Since they were introduced in the late 1970s, dental sealants have evolved into one of modern dentistry's greatest technological advances. Although fluoride use among children makes a significant difference in the fight against cavities, it is not a cure-all. The use of sealants in conjunction with fluoride, flossing, regular brushing, and routine dental visits, provides maximum protection against tooth decay for kids.

Because teeth contain a variety of nooks and crannies, the application of a topical sealant works to prevent bacteria and food particles from entering those hard to brush areas. Sealants are so effective because they are made of a clear plastic material, which is applied directly to the surface of the teeth. With children, sealants can only be applied after the teeth have fully erupted. For most kids, that means between the ages of 5 and 8 years of age.

In a child's mouth, sealants can be applied to both permanent and primary teeth. The material is actually brushed on the chewing surfaces of the molars and along the grooves and depressions of the teeth. For kids, the craggy surfaces of molars are the most common places to develop cavities. For adults, it's sometimes tough to reach all of the spots between the teeth, even with flossing and an electric toothbrush. That is why it is so important for youngsters to receive sealant treatment. They are still learning how to properly take care of their teeth.

The sealant application process is easy, fast, and painless. The tooth is cleaned, dried, and then the sealant is painted on. A special heat light cures or dries the sealant coat and that's it! Sealants are invisible and in no way interfere with a child's day- to-day activities, including playing an instrument, singing, or smiling. They last for years and if they become rough or cracked, they may be reapplied.

Please remember that dental sealants are just one part of an effective dental hygiene routine. Additionally your child should also:
  • Brush twice a day with an ADA-accepted fluoride toothpaste
  • Clean between the teeth daily with floss or another interdental cleaner
  • Eat a balanced diet, with healthy snacks-avoid sugary, sticky foods and beverages 
  • Refer to these Tips for Great Dental Hygiene
  • Visit Dr. Melcher and his friendly staff on a regular basis!
Call our office to consult with Dr. Melcher regarding dental sealants for kids: 919-782-0548

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