Dental sealants provide a layer of protection on the chewing surfaces of your child’s teeth. If your child has cavities or struggles to clean their teeth thoroughly, dental sealants might be a great choice. Tracy Law, DDS, the friendly and caring pediatric dentist at Visalia Dentistry 4 Kids in Visalia, California, offers a full range of dental care for children and teens, including preventive care, sealants, pediatric dentistry checkups, emergency care, and more. Book an appointment by phone now.
A dental sealant is a clear liquefied plastic resin that Dr. Law paints onto the chewing surfaces of your child's back teeth. The sealant smooths the chewing surfaces of the teeth, including the tiny crevices that can easily trap food particles. Dental sealants keep bacteria and debris out of your child's teeth to greatly reduce the chances of developing cavities.
The sealant application process at Visalia Dentistry 4 Kids is completely pain-free, so your child doesn't need any nitrous oxide or local anesthesia. Dr. Law begins with an exam of your child's back teeth, followed by gentle removal if there's any plaque, tartar, or debris on the teeth.
Then, Dr. Law cleans and dries all teeth that he's sealing. He applies a solution to slightly buff the surface of the teeth being sealed. This step allows the sealant to conform to your child's tooth surface.
After another rinsing and drying step, Dr. Law uses a tiny brush to paint the sealant directly onto the chewing surfaces of your child's back teeth. The sealant dries very fast, and Dr. Law might use a curing light to help it harden into place.
The back teeth have a number of small pits and fissures where bacteria and debris can easily get stuck. Although brushing helps, it might not be enough to reach every part of the back teeth effectively. Children often struggle with brushing and flossing the back teeth efficiently, and this may leave bacteria and debris in place to cause tooth decay.
Dr. Law may recommend sealants for baby teeth if your child’s at-risk for tooth decay, but in many cases, he applies a sealant after adult molars erupt. Children's permanent teeth don't resist decay as effectively as permanent teeth in adults.
Over the years, tooth enamel strengthens until it reaches peak strength in early adulthood. But, it takes years of regular fluoride exposure through drinking water, toothpaste, or fluoride treatments to reach peak enamel hardness (and maximum decay resistance). Until your child has adult tooth enamel, getting sealants at Visalia Dentistry 4 Kids can reduce decay by more than 70%.
Daily brushing and flossing, along with regular preventive care, is the best way to care for sealants. As long as your child has good oral care habits and gets regular professional dental treatment, sealants can last for as long as a decade.
To protect your child’s teeth from decay, consider dental sealants. Call Visalia Dentistry 4 Kids today.