Dental sealants shield the teeth, making them resistant to cavities and decay — and equally important: they don’t cause any pain. Both you and your children will love them.
When your young child is miserable with a toothache, you feel it too. When they have tooth pain, all they want is to feel better. Tooth pain comes from a variety of sources, and yet all of them can be address by a qualified dentist. Even if your children are too young to tell you why their teeth are hurting, your dentist can find the reasons and treat them.
Pediatric dentistry uses different practices than adult dentistry. You’ll see the differences in a number of different ways:
- Pediatric dentists’ offices have more of a friendly and happy décor. It’s a conscious effort to make the experience more pleasant for kids.
- Because they cater to kids, they take extra care in helping your little ones to be pain-free. Their instruments are smaller for smaller mouths.
- A kids dentist in Jersey City is specially trained in kids dentistry. That training translates into knowing which age-relevant conditions to look for.
- Like all dentists, a dentist can identify, diagnose and treat tooth pain.
Tell Me Where it Hurts
The most common form of tooth pain in kids is cavities that develop on the surface of the back teeth. The reason for this is that your molars aren’t perfectly smooth; they have grooves and valleys in them called fissures and pits. The irregular surface of these teeth can trap food that contains bacteria. Small particles then find their way deep into fissures where a toothbrush can’t reach, and the bacteria eventually cause decay in the tooth, which creates the pain your kid feels.
To make matters worse, newly formed permanent teeth don’t resist decay as well as adult teeth do. The enamel coating on the tooth that protects against decay simply isn’t as strong. Fluoride in toothpaste (and in dental treatments) strengthens enamel, but it doesn’t always get down into the bottom of those pits and fissures. Now, however, there’s a remedy to prevent tooth decay, sparing your child from unnecessary pain: dental sealants.
Shield Your Children’s Teeth
Dental sealants contain a special coating of resin that’s applied in a non-invasive procedure. It’s a white sealant that looks transparent on teeth. Your kids dentist in Jersey City places the sealant on the flat surfaces and other areas of the teeth where cavities may form.
Your child doesn’t even need to receive any Novocain shots or other topical treatment to numb the area. Sealants are often applied right after your child receives a cleaning. These sealants shield the teeth, making them resistant to cavities and decay — and equally important: they don’t cause any pain. Both you and your children will love them.
Preparation for Dental Sealants
Your child’s teeth enamel functions to repel the elements — including disease-causing bacteria — to protect those precious primary teeth. To allow the sealant to stick to the tooth, your kids dentist in Jersey City applies an etchant material on the tooth for a minute to etch a groove in the enamel that will hold the sealant.
After the etchant is applied, the tooth is rinsed and dried, and the sealant resin is painted onto the etched areas of the tooth. Your kids dentist in Jersey City then uses a special light to harden the sealant resin. The entire procedure only takes a few minutes.
Sealants Aren’t Fillings
If your child has already experienced the pain associated with getting a filling, there may be some apprehension involved with getting a dental sealant. You or your dentist can calm any fears by explaining that sealants aren’t the same as fillings. Fillings are needed when the decay has already passed through the tooth enamel to where nerve endings live, which is why a numbing shot is needed before treatment. Sealants are preventative, designed to protect the enamel before a cavity forms.
The chemical used in dental sealants is a derivative of bisphenol-A (BPA). A study found that BPA doesn’t cause any health problems with children; in fact, food packaging contains more BPA than dental products. Both the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and the American Dental Association have approved the use of dental sealants. However, Mila Cohen, a knowledgeable kids dentist in Jersey City, uses only BPA-free sealants.
No Special Care Required
Your children should take the same amount of care for sealed teeth as they do for teeth that are unsealed. Dentists recommend that kids brush and floss daily. You should also schedule professional cleanings on a regular basis. Sealants do suffer wear and tear, so they need to be checked regularly. Studies have shown that dental sealant can reduce tooth decay by more than 70 percent.
Sealants are applied most often to molars in the back of your kids’ mouths. These are the teeth most involved in chewing, and so they’re more exposed to bacteria than other teeth. But your kids dentist in Jersey City can apply sealants to baby teeth that show potential for cavities. Sealants are an excellent way to protect those hard-to-reach teeth that don’t get as much brushing love as other teeth.
Benefits of Dental Sealants
Most kids get their permanent molars around age six. When their molars come in, it’s a good time to schedule a check-up with a good kids dentist in Jersey City. This is a good time to ask the dentist about sealants. The second molars arrive around the time your child turns 12, and these teeth can benefit by being protected by sealants.
Many parents get sealants for their kids’ teeth as a matter of prevention, even if there are no signs of cavities. Getting sealants as soon as the permanent teeth come in protects them from tooth decay and cavities in the future. The benefits of dental sealants for your children include:
- Painless application
- Quick procedure
- Protection for up to 10 years
- Cosmetic benefits, as the sealants are tinted to match the tooth, so they aren’t easily visible
Sometimes, your children wear away sealants just by chewing or grinding their teeth. In these cases, the sealant sometimes has to be replaced. If your child follows a good brushing and flossing regimen, the sealants can last up to 10 years, according to the National Institutes of Health. Without proper care, sealants may have to be re-applied every three or so years.