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Cavities are more common than many other childhood ailments, and they can cause a range of other problems as well. That’s why many dental professionals recommend that children receive dental sealants to protect against decay. Dental sealants give parents peace of mind by protecting their children’s teeth.
The most likely location for a cavity to develop in your child’s mouth is on the chewing surfaces of the back teeth. These surfaces are filled with tiny grooves that trap bacteria and food particles. A toothbrush can’t always reach these dark, moist little crevices. This creates the perfect conditions for tooth decay.
What’s more, a child’s newly erupted permanent teeth are not as resistant to decay as adult teeth are. The hard enamel coating that protects the teeth changes as it ages to become stronger. Fortunately, there is a good solution to this problem: dental sealants.
Grown-ups also eat sugary foods, and we may all have habits that aren’t so great for our teeth, which means that sealants are often useful for adults as well. We’re all vulnerable to cavities, which is why patients of all ages can benefit from dental sealants at Smiles First Dental.
What Is A Dental Sealant?
A dental sealant is a thin, plastic coating painted on the chewing surfaces of teeth — usually the back teeth (the premolars and molars) — that prevents tooth decay. Sealant protects the tooth surface the same way paint or varnish protect wood. The sealant bonds over the depressions and grooves of the teeth, forming a protective shield against bacteria build up that can lead to decay, cavities, tooth loss, and worse.
What Do Dental Sealants Look Like?
Dental sealants can be clear, white or be slightly tinted depending upon the dental sealant used. Your dentist will strive to match the color of the sealant to your teeth. In most cases they are undetectable – protecting your teeth from cavities while remaining invisible to friends and family, unless they get up very close and personal.
Do Sealants Make My Teeth Feel Different?
As with anything newly placed in the mouth, the sealant may initially feel strange to the tongue. Sealants, however, are very thin and only fill the pits and grooves of molar teeth. Consequently, your mouth gets used to them very quickly.
How Are Sealants Applied?
The process is quick and painless. Applying sealants does not require drilling or removing any existing tooth. First the tooth surface is thoroughly cleaned with a paste and rotating brush by your dentist or hygienist. Next the tooth is washed and dried. Then an acidic solution is placed on the fissured area of the tooth’s chewing surface before being thoroughly rinsed off. This acid creates a “roughed up” area on the tooth.
This rough surface enables the dental sealant to attach to the tooth. After the tooth is dried again, a liquid dental sealant is painted on the tooth and hardened. Dental sealants are hardened by using a concentrated UV light that hardens the sealant, or by using a two-ingredient sealant that sets without the need for light. Once the dental sealant has hardened it becomes a hard, impenetrable coating, allowing normal use of the tooth.
Can Sealants Be Placed Over Cavities?
Sealants can be used over areas of early decay to prevent further damage to your tooth. Because some sealants are clear, your dentist can keep an eye on the tooth to make sure the sealant is protecting as it should be.
Are There Side Effects?
With the exception of extremely rare allergic reactions, there are no known side effects from sealants.
How Long Do Dental Sealants Last?
Dental sealants have been used effectively since the 1970s. A wide range of studies have demonstrated their ability to prevent decay on chewing surfaces. Dental sealants can last many years. If necessary, it is also possible to place a new dental sealant on the tooth. Like any dental treatment, they can chip, abrade, or break, which is why it is important to protect them by scheduling regular checkups at Smiles First Dental.
Dental Care at Smiles First Dental
At Smiles First Dental your oral health and the appearance of your smile is important to us. We care for patients of all ages, from infancy to the Golden Years. Our highly trained staff can treat any dental issue in patients with deep grooves and fissures in their teeth, or any other dental circumstance. Our commitment to our patients is dental health and an attractive smile for a lifetime!
We like to make life a little bit easier for our patients by offering longer hours on weekdays and Saturday appointments.
Call (02) 9630 9996 or visit us at 19/5-7 Kleins Road in Northmead.