As important as it is, and as much as we try as parents, we can’t always rely on our children to keep up a good oral hygiene routine at home. We try to make it fun with fruit flavored toothpastes and a toothbrush in the shape of their favorite cartoon character, but the fact of the matter is, kids sometimes don’t brush their teeth and when they do it’s often not long enough and cavities and tooth decay can be a result. Our Santa Ana kid’s dentist, with the rest of the team at Children’s Dental Group, understands this and lets parents know there are ways to help.
Proper flossing and brushing will always be encouraged, no matter what the age of the patient, but as an added method to help prevent decay, dental sealants are an option. Dental sealants are a thin, clear, plastic coating that protects the grooves of the teeth from bacteria and acids. Our Santa Ana kid’s dentist applies a creamy resin to the main chewing teeth and molars with a tiny brush. Once it hardens, this resin will protect the teeth for years. For those younger children who have trouble brushing their teeth and properly cleaning hard-to-reach places in the mouth, dental sealants are especially helpful. In most cases, dental sealants can last many years on permanent teeth, and replacing sealants is fairly easy.
Most of the tooth decay in children and teens occurs on the surfaces of their back teeth. Sealants protect these chewing surfaces from tooth decay by keeping germs and food particles out of the grooves where dental sealants are applied. A child’s first molars usually come in at about age six and the second molars appear at about age 12. It is most beneficial if the sealant is applied soon after the teeth have erupted and before there is any chance of decay. Our Santa Ana kid’s dentist will explain that it’s most advantageous to use dental sealants on permanent molars where they will get the most benefit.
Another advantage to dental sealants is the application process is quick and easy and doesn’t require any drilling or removal of tooth structure. Our Santa Ana kid’s dentist will clean the teeth before applying a special gel on the chewing surface for a few seconds. The teeth are cleaned then rinsed and dried before the sealant is painted on the teeth. Our dentist or dental hygienist may also shine a special light on the tooth to help harden the sealant. It only takes about one minute for the sealant to form a protective shield and can last as long as five to ten years.