Reduce Your Child's Risk of Cavities With Dental Sealants

Jun 01, 2023
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Tooth problems are very common, and cavities are a condition our team treats often. In children, sealants can keep cavities from forming. Read on to learn more.

 Millions of people struggle with tooth problems, and cavities are the second most common health condition in America overall, with the common cold being in the lead. They affect people of all ages, but children and teenagers deal with them more frequently. These permanently damaged areas of teeth can develop for several reasons, and leaving them untreated can lead to pain, abscess, swelling, and tooth loss.

There are many options for preventing cavities, but dental sealants are one of the best. To find out more about how they can help, let’s explore the risk factors for cavities, how sealants can help, and the process of getting sealants. 

If you live in the Richmond Hill, Georgia, area, and you or your child is struggling with cavities or other dental problems, Dr. Nils Anderson and our medical team at Village Dental can help you repair and protect your teeth.

Risk factors for cavities

A cavity can occur on any part of the tooth, but it happens most often on the smooth surface, the top part of your chewing surface, or the root, leading to dissolving tooth enamel, pit and fissure decay, or root decay. 

Cavities develop because bad bacteria feed on the sugary and starchy foods you eat, which mix with saliva, acid, and other particles to form plaque. The plaque coats your teeth, which dissolves enamel over time, causing cavities and tooth decay.  

A high sugar and starch diet (cereal, sodas, candy, bread, juices), along with poor dental hygiene, gum recession, or a family history of tooth decay are common risk factors for cavities. Dry mouth, eating disorders, and heartburn can also increase the risk of cavities.

How dental sealants help

To protect the chewing surfaces of your child’s teeth, dental sealants are a thin liquid coating made of medical-grade resins or glass ionomers. They are applied and hardened to prevent teeth from exposure to cavity-causing bacteria. 

The back teeth (premolars and molars) have deep crevices that aid in chewing and are a common target for bacteria. These sealants coat the affected teeth to prevent damage, and while it is a common treatment for children, adults without tooth decay or fillings can also use this method to protect vulnerable teeth.

The process of getting a dental sealant

Here are the steps in getting a dental sealant:

  • The tooth is cleaned with a rotating brush and paste, then washed with water and dried.
  • The fissured part of the damaged tooth is covered with an acidic solution for a short time and then rinsed to help the sealant attach to the tooth.
  • Once the tooth has dried, the sealant is placed and allowed to harden, either using a two-part sealant compound or a light that cures it.
  • Once hardened, it forms a plastic coating varnish.

Sealants can last for years, and if necessary, new sealants can be placed on the tooth. They can’t be placed on teeth with decay or that already have fillings. Once the treatment is complete, you can get back to your normal activities without interruption.

To prevent tooth decay, optimal dental hygiene, regular checkups, and treatments like dental sealants can make all the difference. To find out if sealants are right for you or your child, make an appointment with Dr. Anderson and Village Dental today.