Dental sealants are recognized as an effective approach to preventing pit and fissure caries in children. The national oral health objectives for dental sealants, as stated in the U.S. Department Health and Human Services Healthy People 2020, include increasing the proportion of children and teens who have received dental sealants on their molar teeth.
The most likely location for a cavity to develop in your child’s mouth is on the chewing surfaces of the back teeth. If your your tongue over this area in your mouth, and you will feel the reason why! These surfaces are not smooth, as other areas of your teeth are. There are tiny grooves, known as “pits and fissures,” which trap bacteria and food. The bristles on a toothbrush can’t always reach all the way into these dark, moist little crevices. This creates an area on the tooth that is more likely prone to cavities.
Fluoride, which is found in toothpaste and some drinking water — and in treatments we use here at our practice — can strengthen enamel, but, again, it’s hard to get fluoride into those pits and fissures on a regular basis. Fortunately, there is a good solution to this problem: dental sealants!
Dental sealants are clear or tooth colored plastic resin coatings that smooth out the chewing surfaces of the back teeth, making them more resistant to decay. The application is fast and comfortable and can effectively protect your child’s teeth for many years. Drs. Chow, Diune and Ko will check the sealants during routine dental visits and recommend re-application or repair when necessary.
It is important to note that sealants are only one step in a preventive dental routine. Brushing, flossing and regular dental visits are still essential to a healthy smile!