child at dentistIt can be frustrating to hear that your child has tooth decay, especially when you know that he or she brushes and flosses regularly. Hopefully it will comfort you to know that this is a common problem among children and adolescents and it isn’t always something they can control. The space between the back teeth is often so thin that neither dental floor nor the bristles of a toothbrush can fit between them for proper cleaning. The grooves and pits on the back teeth are often a challenge to keep clean as well.

Southbridge Dental is happy to let you know that dental sealants can prevent your child from developing tooth decay at all. It involves your child’s dentist placing a coating over the back teeth that protects them from bacteria that can turn into tooth decay. The procedure takes just a few minutes and it can prevent cavities for years.

How Your Child Receives Dental Sealants

Your child’s dentist may advise you to schedule an appointment for dental sealants to slow the growth of decay that he or she can already see on the back teeth. It’s also possible that one of our pediatric dentists will recommend the procedure as completely preventive for children who don’t yet show any signs of tooth decay.

The dentist first cleans the tooth using a dental drill and then places etching gel on top of it for approximately 60 seconds. The gel turns to foam to form the sealant, which the dentist then dries with an air gun. The final step involves your child’s dentist shining a curing light on the treated tooth to force the foam to harden. The entire process takes approximately five minutes from start to finish.

Dental Sealants Provide Long-Lasting Cavity Protection

If your child receives a dental sealant in early elementary school, he or she could still have it when it’s time for high school graduation. The typical sealant lasts for 10 years and lowers the risk of tooth decay by up to 80 percent. Your child’s dentist will re- evaluate after the sealant has worn off to determine if your child would benefit from a replacement.

Cleaning the back teeth is especially challenging for children. In addition to the limited space, kids often don’t have the manual dexterity to perform the job well nor the understanding of why it’s so important. Considering that three-quarters of American children have at least one cavity by age 18, getting dental sealants is the best way for your kids not to become part of this statistics. We have found that applying dental sealants at six and 12 years of age tends to be the most effective.

Like you, we want to see your child receive a clean bill of oral health at every appointment. We invite you to contact Southbridge Dentistry in Littleton, Colorado with additional questions about dental sealants or to schedule a cleaning and exam.