As a Family Dentist in Tigard OR, I see lots of children or all ages and one thing that I have found to be incredibly important for a child’s oral health are sealants. Some parents are confused when I make the recommendation that their child have sealants and think that their child might have a cavity. This is actually not the case! Sealants are placed mostly on molar or premolar permanent teeth to prevent the formation of a cavity.
Teeth are not simply flat on the biting surface as you can see when you brush or floss your teeth in the mirror. They are made up of deep pits or grooves. It is in these deep pits that food, plaque, and bacteria hide. It is very difficult even for an adult sometimes to brush properly enough to remove all of these things from their teeth. So unfortunately one of the first places that cavities occur especially on children is the deep pits or grooves in their teeth.
Sealants protect these vulnerable areas by “sealing out” plaque and food. Sealants are easy for your dentist to apply. The sealant is painted onto the tooth enamel, where it bonds directly to the tooth and hardens. This plastic resin bonds into the depressions and grooves (pits and fissures) of the chewing surfaces of back teeth. The sealant acts as a barrier, protecting enamel from plaque and acids. As long as the sealant remains intact, the tooth surface will be protected from decay. Sealants hold up well under the force of normal chewing and may last several years before a reapplication is needed. During your regular dental visits, your dentist will check the condition of the sealants and reapply them when necessary.
Sealants can be placed on teeth at any age (even adults) and are usually done only on permanent teeth. It is also important that proper oral hygiene like brushing twice daily and flossing also be emphasized as simply placing sealants will not protect the whole tooth from a possible cavity.
Summer is a great time to make dental appointments from your entire family and to ask your Tigard OR Dentist about sealants. Give us a call today at Tigard TenderCare Dental (503) 670-7088.