Cavities have a high chance of developing on the chewing surface of the back teeth of children. If you use your tongue to feel these surfaces, you will find that they are rough. There are pits and fissures on this rough surface, and food particles and bacteria easily get trapped there. Tooth decay could quickly develop there as the bristle on a toothbrush does not always reach into those crevices to properly clean them.
Newly formed permanent teeth in children can not resist decay the way that of an adult will. As age advance, the hard covering of the teeth, I.e., the enamel, becomes stronger. Although fluoride gotten from toothpaste, in community water and other sources can make the enamel stronger, it may not substantially get to the pit and fissures. Dental sealants are the solution to this problem.
Dental sealants make the chewing surface of the back teeth resistant to decay by smoothening them. They are made of plastic resin coatings and are invisible. A sealed tooth will prevent the formation of a cavity and the need for future dental treatment. Your child is also protected from pain resulting from cavity formation.
How Sealants Are Placed
It is imperative to point out that dental sealants do not fill up cavities; they are more of a mini plastic filling. Getting a dental sealant is a painless procedure as there are no nerves in the enamel and therefore no need for a numbing shot.
Firstly, we will remove any decay found in the tooth or teeth to be sealed. Then cleaning and drying of the teeth follow. For the sealing material to adhere better, an etching solution will be applied to the surface. The teeth will be cleaned and dried the second time before the sealant, which is in liquid form, is painted on the teeth. With the help of special curing light, the solution hardens in about a minute.
A study of bisphenol-A (BPA) carried out in 2012 raised concerns over trace amount of the chemical present in some dental resin which might cause a behavioral problem in children. Although the people who carried out the study could not prove that BPA in dental sealants was directly responsible for these problems, they found an association. There is more BPA in packaged food and beverages than in dental restorative materials. Both the American Association of Pediatric Dentistry and the American Dental Association have reassured the public that it is safe to use sealants.
Taking Care of Sealants
You should take care of your sealed teeth just as you would do that of unsealed teeth. Make sure that daily brushing and flossing of your teeth continues and also take them for regular professional teeth cleaning. Sealants can be durable for up to 10 years without wearing off or having a tear, but check them regularly for any chips that can cause food and bacteria to get beneath them. They can reduce the chance of tooth decay by 70%.