Today I would like to discuss one way that we as parents and as dental professionals can try to intercept dental problems in children’s mouths.
An underused but very cost effective treatment modality is the use of pit and fissure sealants.
You’ve heard the expression, “prevention is better than cure,” and it has never been truer than in dental health. Avoiding damage to your teeth through sound oral care beats trying to fix problems after they arise. The use of Pit and fissure sealants, for example, are one of several key methods for staving off the decay that often leads to dental caries.
Using a glass ionomer or a similar bonding agent, these sealants can work particularly well in teens and young children, on newly or partially erupted teeth, this according to a report from The Journal of the American Dental Association.
Why kids might need sealants?
Even though pits and fissures do occur naturally, they can worsen over time, leading to dental caries, so a child whose teeth show sign’s of pits and fissures may be a candidate for dental sealants. Pits are small hollows that occur on the biting surfaces of permanent teeth, whereas fissures are grooves in the outside of the tooth’s surface. In both cases, these areas can easily fill with bacteria, which may be difficult to remove with regular oral hygiene.
As this bacterium grows, it will interact with the starches and sugar in the food you eat, turning them into acids that can be bad for the tooth enamel. If this process causes enough decay, it eventually spreads to the inner pulp of the tooth. This can result in extremely painful and unsightly damage, which can cause lifelong dental problems and premature loss of teeth.
How do sealants work?
Dental sealants work to coat and seal the grooves and hollows, preventing bacteria from building up on the tooth. The size and depth of the hollows and grooves in your child’s teeth will determine whether he or she can benefit from the application of a sealant. Sealants are typically used on either the molars and or premolars at the back of the mouth, as these are the teeth that most commonly develop surface irregularities.
How will your child be evaluated?
A thorough dental evaluation of your child’s new permanent teeth will help determine whether they have small ‘’pits and fissures’’ and an increased risk could exist for developing dental caries. Having identified if the pits and fissures are deep enough to warrant the application of a sealant, the dentist will give you his recommendation. Ultimately, however, it is up to the parent to make this decision. You’ll know it’s urgent if you can see grooves and hollows on the surface of the back teeth.
Our advice: Make Oral Hygiene a priority
Until your child receives this vital evaluation, it is vital that he or she maintains good oral health. We recommend daily brushing; with fluoride containing toothpaste and diligent flossing will help to protect the teeth from an accumulation of germs. Important to note, that a strict daily regiment has helps greatly reduced the chances of new teeth developing bacterial problems. If sealants are applied, it’s just as important to maintain oral hygiene to help prevent other problems from happening in the mouth.
A Cost-Effective Option
Pit and fissure sealants are an underused option for the protection of molar teeth, particularly in lower-income populations. Costs may vary depending on the materials used. We consider the cost of applying sealants very small in high-risk populations
If your child has recently welcomed new permanent molar teeth, it’s a great time to get them looked at to see whether they could benefit from dental sealants.
I hope this gives you a little insight into what sealants are. For more info, check out:https://capitaldentalclinic.com/sealants.
At your child’s next dental visit ask your Dentist or hygienist about them and if there is the need with your child’s posterior teeth.
Not all teeth need them and the individual evaluation is very important.
Dr. Leo Cain
(506) 458-9669 | 123 York Street, Suite 201 | Fredericton, NB – E3B 3N6