In addition to brushing and flossing twice a day, you can also take extra steps to protecting your children’s teeth. The molars are the most susceptible to cavities for two reasons. First, their chewing surface has more pits and fissures than the rest of the teeth. This can make it more difficult for toothbrush bristles to clean the chewing surface. Second, the majority of chewing is done with your molars, increasing the chances of food and bacteria getting stuck and causing decay. To protect your children’s molars, NOVA Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics can apply sealants when they come in; usually around 6 years old and 12 years old.
A Sealant is a BPA free plastic material that is brushed on the chewing surfaces of molars in liquid form. The procedure is quick and painless, and provides extra defense against cavity causing bacteria, and acidic food and liquid that can break down enamel over time. There is no drilling, grinding, or removal of any part of the tooth structure. Sealants last for five to ten years and will be checked by Dr. Woo each time they visit for their biannual teeth cleaning.
A report published in July, 2017 by the Cochrane Collaboration, a group that studies and analyzes health information, found that the prevalence of cavities was reduced by 51% in children whose teeth were treated with sealant. Dr. Joel Berg, Dean of the School of Dentistry at University of Washington, also points out that applying sealants can also prevent adulthood dental health problems. Fillings, no matter how well placed, will eventually fail. When they fail, the tooth may need to be repaired with a crown or root canal. If we can stop the decay that causes cavities from the beginning, with sealants, we can help improve the future dental health of our children. And as we’ll talk about next week, dental health and overall health go hand in hand.
So what is the process? When your children’s first and second permanent molars appear around ages 6 and 12, respectively, Dr. Woo may decide that sealants are a good way to protect their teeth. She will first clean and dry the teeth being sealed. Then, she’ll brush a gel on their teeth that will help the sealant adhere to the surface of their molar. Next, the gel is washed off and the teeth are dried again. The sealant is brushed on, and Dr. Woo shines a light on the molars to dry the sealant. And that’s it!
NOVA Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics is happy to help you answer any questions you might have about sealants. You can visit us at 21785 Filigree Ct #208 in Ashburn. We’re happy to explain everything in person and address any concerns.