Deep Pits & Fissures in Teeth
According to the Dr. Mila Cohen of True Dental Care, one of the most common problems in the United States for both kids and adults is tooth decay. To put the problem into perspective, consider:
- 36 percent of the world’s population has or had dental decay
- That’s just over 2.4 billion people with some form of tooth decay
- Half of all adults experience dental decay at some point in their lives
In young children, the number is around 620 million or nine percent of the population. Most of these numbers have risen in recent years within the developed world as a result of more sugar consumption from processed foods. These figures reveal the importance of good dental health and preventative dental care for everyone, but especially for your children.
Protecting Your Children’s Teeth
The areas most prone to decay are the deep pits and fissures of the back teeth. When you teach your kids how to floss and brush properly, they won’t miss those difficult-to-reach back molars — which kids too frequently overlook or even neglect. Your kids dentist in NJ can assist you in this educational process by reinforcing the correct brushing techniques from your kids’ very first visit.
By nature, premolars and molars have pits and fissures — the deep grooves that enable chewing. These grooves make chewing easier on the jaw; however, they’re also more difficult to keep clean. If they’re not cleaned adequately and regularly, food accumulates there, causing complications that can result in deepening the pits and fissures. And it’s in these deep pits and fissures that cavities commonly form.
Plaque also forms on these back molars because the deep pits and fissures are more difficult to reach with a toothbrush. The film of bacteria left behind can lead to cavities and caries. The bacteria here feed on sugars found in most processed foods and drinks. As the bacteria gains strength, they create acids that attack the protective tooth enamel. Over time, the enamel thins, followed by tooth decay.[pgcallout]
Brush to Prevent Deep Pit and Fissure Caries
Children are more susceptible to deepening pits and fissures because they’re still developing good dental care habits. Visits to your dentist help encourage good oral habits early and catch potential issues before complications arise. The two best best ways to prevent deep pits and fissures are:
- Brushing twice daily for a minimum of two minutes
- Regular teeth cleanings at your dentist
When brushing, your kids should take special care after any large meals and after consuming anything with a high sugar content. They should clean the surface of each tooth, with extra focus on the molars. When you take your child for a check-up at your dentist, any plaque build-up on the teeth is removed, which helps prevent the onset of the most common dental problems.
Deep Pit and Fissure Sealants
Another form of prevention that helps protect children’s teeth is deep pit and fissure sealants. These sealants provide a safe and painless way to protect the biting surfaces of the rear teeth. They consist of hard plastic coatings that prevent any food and bacteria from entering the tiny grooves on the surface of the teeth.
The process to cover the rear teeth takes just a few minutes per tooth. First, the tooth is cleaned thoroughly, prepared with a special solution and then dried. Then the sealant is poured onto the tooth and allowed to harden. A special light is used in the drying and hardening process. After the application, the top surface of the tooth is protected from any build-up of plaque-forming bacteria. A few common questions that dentists hear about these sealants include:
- Does it hurt? No, the treatment is totally pain-free. Your children won’t feel any different afterward.
- Will I have to change the sealant? The sealants can last for many years. dentist likes to check them at regular intervals to make sure the sealant is still intact and not worn. If there is wear, adding more sealant or replacing the current sealant are options.
- How do deep pit and fissures sealants work? The sealant forms a smooth protective barrier, which prevents decay from forming in the pit and fissures of the rear teeth.
- When should this be done? A good Jersey City dentist recommends this treatment as soon as the first permanent rear teeth start to appear. For most children, this is around the ages of six to seven. Other teeth are treated as they appear, normally between the ages of 11 and 14. Sometimes, sealants are even placed on baby teeth that have pits and fissures.
- Is teeth cleaning still necessary? Yes, cleaning is as important as ever. And cleaning treated teeth is much easier to do and all that much easier to maintain.
Treating Deep Pit and Fissure Problems
Your NJ kids dentist determines if sealants should be used for your kids’ teeth. After a check-up, if there are no signs of decay in deep pits and fissures, your dentist may just recommend the use of a high-quality toothpaste that helps replenish the teeth’s calcium. If decay is superficial, sealants may be the recommended next step.
If the decay has gone past the defensive layer of enamel and reached to the dentin layer, the tooth has to be treated and repaired by with a filling, a composite or a crown. In the case of small to medium decay, fillings and composites will be used. If the tooth has a larger area of decay — where the structure of the tooth has been compromised, your child will likely need a crown fitted.
Any treatment for deep pits and fissures in teeth can be uncomfortable for children. Good oral hygiene and the help of your NJ child dentist can prevent deep pit and fissure cavities. Your dentist can repair, if not prevent altogether, cavities in this area of the mouth. Prevention is always the best treatment when it comes to your children. Be sure to schedule their first check-ups early to give them the best chance at lifelong dental health.