Some children naturally have deep pits and grooves in their back teeth which can lead to problems if left untreated. Also, there are children with poor brushing habits that if left unchanged can begin to get decay at those hard-to-reach molars in the back fo their mouths. It can be frustrating to cope with as children grow and develop. For situations like these, dental sealants can be used to offer a means of protecting molar and premolar chewing surfaces from decay and cavities. It is a simple process that is recognized by the American Dental Association as a key means of cavity prevention.
So what exactly are Dental sealants?
They are a thin plastic film that is applied to the tooth of your child. The procedure is done in the office in a single visit! It is an amazing process that can help kids who are still learning proper brushing and dental care, and prevent major issues in the future that can become expensive, time-consuming, and uncomfortable to your child.
Our first step is to identify and fill any spots of decay in your child’s mouth. We then prepare your child’s teeth by cleaning their teeth and then apply an etching solution onto the tooth we plan to treat. After about 15 seconds we thoroughly rinse the solution, dry the surface of the tooth, coat it with the sealant, and harden it instantly with a curing light. The entire procedure is fast, easy, and comfortable. The entire process takes about 10 to 45 minutes, depending on the number of teeth we want to seal and protect.
Once it is applied the dental sealants create an impenetrable physical barrier for small food particles and cavity-causing bacteria. They are highly effective in preventing tooth surface decay which can result into cavities. With proper care and maintenance sealants can last up to ten years of your child’s life.
Currently, insurance companies cover sealant procedures but have restrictions to age and specific tooth limitations. We are happy to help you find out what exactly your insurance covers, and keep in mind that this procedure is very affordable. Many insurance companies are starting to recognize this technique’s value as a preventive measure to help reduce future dental costs and more aggressive treatments that we all want to avoid.
Which teeth should be sealed?
With the natural flow of saliva, it can help keep your child’s teeth smooth but there are grooves and crevices that food particles get stuck in. So teeth that have the most risk of decay and complications are back molars. Specifically the six-year and twelve-year molars. Permanent premolars and primary molars can benefit from this procedure as well. While these are the most common teeth that have problems, any tooth with grooves and pits can benefit from dental sealants. The best way to know is to come in for an evaluation and talk with a Doctor about your child’s case.
Fillings replace and restore tooth structures that are damaged due to decay or fracture with a material. We will replace old, broken-down amalgam/metal fillings with white fillings (composites) to restore your smile and teeth to a more natural look and feel.
With today’s advancements, patients no longer have to suffer the embarrassment of unsightly silver fillings or metal margins of the past. Eliminate the dark, black appearance in your teeth with state-of-the-art, tooth-colored resin or porcelain materials.
Compare white fillings against silver amalgam fillings:
- White fillings bond to teeth and strengthen them by restoring most of its original shape. Silver amalgams, on the other hand, weaken teeth and make them more susceptible to breaking. Broken teeth can be very expensive to replace; composites can actually save time and money in the end.
- Most patients prefer white filling composites. This is due to the natural color, strength and overall appearance and feel. Composites are naturally more comfortable.
- Hot and cold sensitivity is greatly reduced with composite material compared to the silver/mercury amalgams.
- Restorations with composites require less removal of the tooth and less structure to place than those with amalgams — especially with new cavities. Dramatically smaller holes are needed with a composite.