Your children’s “best friends” are Butterfinger and taffy. In fact, these candies may also be your own best friends, but when it comes to the dental office, they are your worst enemies. Your kids and even you at times can’t resist some of the sweetest, stickiest treats, but dental sealants placed by your family dentist help to protect your teeth from the cavities caused by these sweets.
A dental sealant is a coating that is placed on the chewing surfaces of the molar and premolar teeth—the teeth farthest back in the mouth—in order to guard them against tooth decay. The chewing surfaces of teeth have grooves, called fissures, that are deep and thus hard to clean. When food debris builds up in the grooves of a tooth, the bacteria in the debris produce acid that eat away at the tooth’s enamel. As a result, cavities form. However, dental sealants effectively cover these grooves, thus blocking food from accumulating in them.
Dental sealants are recommended when a child gets his or her first permanent molar tooth. The sealant should be placed after the tooth has fully emerged beyond the gum. Then, other permanent premolar and molar teeth that emerge can continue to receive sealants.
If your child still has primary teeth, or baby teeth, your family dentist may recommend placing sealants on these teeth if the grooves are deep. Keeping these baby teeth healthy is important because they essentially hold the proper spacing for permanent teeth. Dental sealants are also recommended for adults who are at risk for dental cavities. You may also opt to get dental sealants if you have deep grooves in your teeth and if these grooves have not yet had fillings.
Sometimes, the stickiest, sweetest foods are the most irresistible, but they can also be the most destructive. Tooth decay, which can be uncomfortable, is easily preventable using dental sealants. Contact the office of Dr. Gregory Allen Kerbel at (972) 278-9901 today to find out how dental sealants can keep your children’s teeth, and your own teeth, cavity-resistant for years to come.