Did you know that dental cavities are classified as a bacterial infection? That's good news for us because that means that like most infectious diseases, dental cavities are preventable!
The only problem is that by the time we notice cavities it is already too late!
Most people only come to the dentist when they have already got a carious lesion or cavity. As a result, we are then required to clean, drill and then seal the cavity with a filling material. But what if you came in before any decay occurs? There's a lot we can do!
There are several ways to prevent decay, especially in children. One of these preventative measures is PIT and FISSURE SEALANTS. A sealant is a tooth- coloured protective resin coating which is applied onto the back teeth. Most back teeth have several tiny grooves which food particles often get trapped in. This creates the perfect breeding ground for plaque and bacteria to form and create cavities. Hence, sealing the grooves with the sealant acts to stop food from getting trapped in the tiny grooves, preventing cavities from forming.
One longitudinal case study yielded results that after 9 years only 27% of sealed tooth surfaces were decayed in comparison to 77% of tooth surfaces without sealants.
Sealants are perfectly safe and most are made of a flowable resin composite (the same material as white fillings), which makes them a perfect choice for children.
Sealants are often applied as soon as the adult teeth start coming through. This is typically between the ages of six to seven. However, due to over consumption of sugary snack foods and juices an increasing numbers of preschool- aged children have been found to be getting cavities in their milk teeth. As a results, sealants for baby teeth can also be considered.
We understand that as a parent you may be worried about possible pain and discomfort of fissure sealants. However, let us assure you that it is totally pain free and the teeth do not feel any different afterwards. The process is very quick and only takes a few minutes per tooth. The targeted teeth are first cleaned and dried thoroughly, before applying the liquid sealant and allowing it to harden. These sealants can be clear or white in colour. The sealants are on the back teeth and therefore they will not be seen when your adorable child talks or smiles. Sealants usually last for many years, but regular checkups are recommended to maintain them.
The smooth, sealed surfaces are much easier to keep clean with normal tooth brushing. This simple preventative measure can help to prevent decay and cavities from arising. With its many benefits evident, book in with one of our dentists today at Relax Dental and Facial Care!