When Should Your Child Get Dental Sealants?
If your child is a regular patient at the Kids Dentistry Center, then Dr. Marina Krepkh or another of our great dentists might have mentioned dental sealants for their teeth. But what is this treatment, and why is it so strongly advised?
Why Seal Teeth?
When your child’s adult back teeth first erupt they are beautifully pristine and free from decay, but one of the problems with back teeth is the way nature has designed them. If you take a closer look, you’ll notice the chewing surfaces have lots of intricate fissures and grooves that can actually be quite deep. When they come into contact with food then these help to grind it up, beginning the process of digestion, but they are also excellent at trapping food particles which soon attract bacteria. These bacteria will quickly get to work on converting the food particles into energy, creating strong acids that gradually eat away at the chewing surfaces, causing cavities. Of course all this takes some time to occur, and surely if your child brushes thoroughly they’ll remove the bacteria and food before any damage is caused, or will they?
Unfortunately it is not always easy to completely clean these intricate surfaces and food and bacteria can easily become trapped, which is why dental sealants were invented.
How Do Dental Sealants Work?
Dental sealants seal up the chewing surfaces of the teeth, creating a smooth surface that is easy to keep clean. They consist of a very thin durable plastic coating that does not affect the way the teeth bite together. The process is very quick, and can easily be done by Dr. Krepkh during just one visit. First the teeth are thoroughly cleaned, before being lightly etched which produces a rougher surface that helps the coating bond to the teeth. The etching solution is washed off, and the teeth are dried again before the coating is painted onto the tooth surfaces. It can be left to harden naturally in just a few minutes, or the hardening process can be accelerated with a blue light. Afterwards these teeth can be used as normal, but will be far easier to keep clean.
What Is the Best Time for Kids to Have Dental Sealants?
The best time is soon after their permanent back teeth have fully erupted. This is because children’s teeth can be more susceptible to tooth decay, as their tooth enamel is not as hard as adults, and dental sealants can only be used on teeth that do not have cavities. If teeth have already been filled then they cannot be sealed. It might be possible to seal teeth that show very slight signs of tooth decay, as dental sealants can seal in the bacteria, preventing any more damage from occurring, but this is rare and it is best to apply dental sealants to perfectly healthy teeth.
Dental sealants are cheap and effective and last for up to ten years, and are often covered under dental insurance plans. Dr. Krepkh will check them for wear and tear at every appointment, and they can be reapplied as necessary.
Kids Best Dentist Brooklyn NYC
Dr. Marina Krepkh
7708 4th Avenue 1st floor
Brooklyn, NY 11209 (Bay Ridge)