According to a recent report from the CDC, dental sealants could potentially prevent 80% of cavities in school aged children. They also add that sealants generally save money over a child's lifetime and prevent the eating, speech and learning problems associated with cavities and dental pain. Could your child benefit from a sealant? What is a "sealant" anyways? Keep reading for the full story.
A dental sealant is a thin layer of filling material placed in the pits and grooves of the back teeth. By blocking out these hard-to-clean areas, we can prevent food from sticking and eliminate spots that are difficult or impossible to clean with a toothbrush. First, the tooth is prepared using gentle air abrasion or an acid etch. We then flow the sealant material throughout the tooth and use a special light to harden it. Finally, we check to make sure the final product is completely smooth and doesn't interfere when your child bites or chews. The entire appointment takes about thirty minutes (varies with number of teeth to be sealed and cooperation) and doesn't require a shot.
In the past, sealants received bad press for possibly "sealing in" decay or (if improperly placed) creating a catch to trap food. Recent research has shown that placing sealants over small areas of decay actually arrests bacterial grown and has the same effect as removing the decay. Likewise, we use a number of techniques to make sure our sealants are properly placed on clean, dry teeth. We wont let anything but the best leave our office!
Would your child benefit from sealants? Statistically, most children have at least one tooth that has pits or grooves that would qualify for this treatment. However, a complete dental examination is necessary to tell for certain. If you would like to know more about sealants or any other procedures offered at Thousand Oaks Family Dentistry, please give our office a call!