Sealants and Fluoride Treatment
Tooth decay has become increasingly prevalent in preschoolers. Not only is tooth decay unpleasant and painful, it can also lead to more serious problems like premature tooth loss and childhood periodontal disease.
Dental sealants are an important tool in preventing childhood caries (cavities) and tooth decay. Especially when used in combination with other preventative measures, like biannual checkups and an excellent daily home care routine, sealants can bolster the mouth’s natural defenses, and keep smiles healthy.
How do sealants protect children’s teeth?
In general, dental sealants are used to protect molars from oral bacteria and harmful oral acids. These larger, flatter teeth reside toward the back of the mouth and can be difficult to clean. Molars mark the site of four out of five instances of tooth decay. Decay-causing bacteria often inhabit the nooks and crannies (pits and fissures) found on the chewing surfaces of the molars. These areas are extremely difficult to access with a regular toothbrush.
The sealant acts as a barrier, ensuring that food particles and oral bacteria cannot access vulnerable tooth enamel. Dental sealants do not enhance the health of the teeth directly, and should not be used as a substitute for fluoride supplements (if the dentist has recommended them) or general oral care. In general however, sealants are less costly, less uncomfortable, and more aesthetically pleasing than dental fillings.
When should sealants be applied?
Sealants are usually applied when the primary (baby) molars first emerge. Depending on the oral habits of the child, the sealants may last for the life of the primary tooth, or need replacing several times. Essentially, sealant durability depends on the oral habits of the individual child.
Pediatric dentists recommend that permanent molars be sealed as soon as they emerge. In some cases, sealant can be applied before the permanent molar is full grown. The health of the sealant must be monitored at biannual appointments. If the seal begins to lift off, food particles may become trapped against the tooth enamel, actually causing tooth decay.
How can fluoride prevent tooth decay?
Fluoride fulfills two important dental functions. First, it helps staunch mineral loss from tooth enamel, and second, it promotes the remineralization of tooth enamel.
When carbohydrates (sugars) are consumed, oral bacteria feed on them and produce harmful acids. These acids attack tooth enamel – especially in children who take medications or produce less saliva. Repeated acid attacks result in cavities, tooth decay, and childhood periodontal disease. Fluoride protects tooth enamel from acid attacks and reduces the risk of childhood tooth decay.
Fluoride is especially effective when used as part of a good oral hygiene regimen. Reducing the consumption of sugary foods, brushing and flossing regularly, and visiting the dentist biannually, all supplement the work of fluoride and keep young teeth healthy.
If you have questions or concerns about dental sealants and fluoride treatment, please contact Smile 32 Dentistry today.
We welcome the opportunity to partner with you in realizing your smile design dreams.
Space Maintainers in Calgary
A space maintainer is a small dental appliance that is used to hold the space of one or more missing baby teeth until the permanent teeth grow in. A space maintainer is usually only necessary when a baby tooth has been removed or fallen out prematurely.
There are several different types of space maintainers. Space maintainers can either be fixed (non-removable) or removable. While space maintainers can be made from metal, acrylic, or a combination, one of the most common space maintainer designs is a simple metallic band with an attached wire.
During the initial appointment, impressions will be taken of your child’s teeth. The impression will be used to create your child’s custom-made space maintainer.
At the second appointment, our experienced Calgary dentist will attach the space maintainer. Following this appointment, your child will be able to eat and drink normally
To learn more about space maintainers or to schedule an appointment for your child, please call Smile 32 Dentistry today and one of our friendly team members will answer any questions you may have.
Child’s First Visit to the Dentist
Our compassionate team goes to great lengths to make sure you and your child are comfortable in our care. We want to help you set up healthy habits for your whole family. And that begins with making good first impressions in our office. Schedule your child’s first dental exam today!