A Guide to Dental and Fissure Sealants
While tooth decay remains one of the most common oral health issues among both children and adults, it is also extremely simple to prevent. An effective daily routine that involves regular brushing and flossing can be successful in warding off the build-up of bacteria on pearly whites.
Dental sealants are used to protect the back teeth from the signs of decay that develop on these surfaces during childhood or the teenage years. The fixture stops germs and food particles getting inside the grooves found in these areas and is effective in successfully forbidding cavities to form on the teeth, which can lead to a range of problems if they are not treated early on.
Which areas of the mouth can benefit from sealants?
Permanent molars – found in the back of the mouth – are the most likely to enjoy the advantages provided by dental sealants. These pearly whites emerge when a child is approximately six years old, while the secondary versions appear at the age of 12. Dental professionals recommend this course of action is taken soon after the teeth have erupted during a time when the opportunity for decay is yet to occur.
How are the sealants applied to the teeth?
Fortunately, the application of dental sealants does not require drilling or altering the tooth structure – which is ideal for the majority of children who still find trips to the dentist an extremely daunting experience.
The short and easy procedure initially involves the extensive cleaning of the chosen tooth. Following this, a special type of gel is applied to the chewing surface for a few seconds, then washed off and dried.
A dentist or hygienist paints the sealant onto the pearly white, with many often shining a light on the affected area to assist the substance in its setting process. Overall, the protective course of action takes around one minute for the material to create a protective shield.
How will the sealants feel and look?
Although the substance may feel different initially, children are unlikely to notice the dental sealant when they are familiar with it. The material used to create this effective treatment is extremely thin and only fills the pits and grooves of molar teeth.
Similarly, the material can only be seen when it is observed up close due to its clear white or slightly tinted appearance. In the majority of cases, it will not be visible when a patient smiles or talks.
Are dental sealants a long-term solution?
If looked after correctly, the treatment can last between five and ten years. Children should be taken to regular appointments with a specialist dentist to ensure they remain in place and their overall oral health is maintained.
While the procedure can help youngsters remain protected against decay, the requirement to maintain an effective hygiene routine – including the use of products containing fluoride – remains vital.
Commonly found in toothpastes, mouth washes and tap water, this substance can also help to prevent the onset of issues on the teeth and in the mouth. Working in conjunction with the sealant, it can stop decay from developing on the pearly whites and ward off the formation of cavities that can result in more serious problems.
Are sealants more effective than a natural approach?
Although many people can go their whole lives without the use of dental sealants, many dentists would argue that any added protection can only provide a bonus for health-conscious individuals.
Furthermore, the measure can save both time and money brought about by the requirement for dental treatment, as well as the pain and discomfort experienced by people who have their cavities corrected with the use of traditional fillings.
Additionally, the latter course of action does not provide a permanent solution and is more likely to fall out, which – in turn – can lead to the further weakening of the teeth.
Do dental sealants fit in with regular dentistry?
The application of this substance can be carried out as part of a child’s preventative dental care, which also includes a range of other measures that can be done at home.
Maintaining a child’s overall oral health is one of the most important things for parents to consider in order for them to enjoy healthy teeth and gums well into their adult lives. Tips for ensuring pearly whites are kept in top shape include:
- Brushing teeth twice every day with an accepted fluoride toothpaste can help to remove a build-up of plaque that collects on the surface after eating and other general activities. It is important for youngsters to learn how to do this to a high standard to ward off the earliest signs of decay.
- Consuming a well balanced diet that is low in starchy and sugary products, but high in nutritious and colourful fruit and vegetables. While it is often recommended to give children the occasional treat, guardians could try serving unhealthy foods as part of a meal that helps to rinse the substances from the mouth.
- Flossing every day to remove harmful plaque from between the pearly whites and that which has collected beneath the gum line before it has the chance to harden and create tartar. If this damaging substance is able to form, patients can only find a solution with a possibly costly medical procedure.
- Ensuring drinking water is fluoridated and toothpaste contains the beneficial ingredient can also help young people remain protected against the development of oral health issues.
What is the best technique for brushing?
- Children should use a pea-sized dab of toothpaste on a soft-bristled brush to achieve the best results from their daily cleaning routine. Parents must ensure their offspring does not accidentally swallow any of the materials used.
- Following this, the optimum method to use during this course of action is to angle the implement along the outer gum line and slowly move it back and forth before doing the same to the chewing surface of each pearly white.
- The tip of the toothbrush can be utilised to clean behind the front of the mouth, while brushing the tongue can be an extremely fun experience for children.