Sealants can help children get off to a great start for a lifetime of strong, healthy teeth. Dr. Mary Gregory's Arlington, VA, family dentistry practice uses them to protect teeth that are at high risk of decay and prevent problems from developing, even if your child has never had a cavity.
The back teeth have lots of ridges, nooks, and crannies where food and sugar can get trapped. These teeth are extremely difficult to clean with a toothbrush and floss alone. Sealants are a simple and easy way to protect these vulnerable areas from decay.
Who Should Get Sealants?
Because they're designed to prevent decay in hard-to-clean areas, sealants can benefit even children with healthy teeth and a great daily hygiene routine. Most children's dentists recommend sealants for a child’s permanent molars and premolars as soon as they erupt. These teeth are prone to cavities, especially during the childhood years--so protecting them right from the start helps lower the risk of future problems.
In some cases, sealants may be recommended for baby teeth that are particularly prone to decay or have especially deep ridges that are difficult to clean. Since cavities in baby teeth can also affect the adult teeth, it's important to stop decay in its tracks if it becomes a problem early on. Dr. Gregory, your Arlington children's dentist, will let you know if your child could benefit from sealants on their baby teeth.
Sealants are made of a clear plastic material that is painted onto the tooth, sinks into all the hard-to-reach areas, then dries to form a protective barrier. The process of receiving sealants is simple and painless, and it takes just a few minutes for each tooth.
First the teeth are thoroughly cleaned to remove bacteria and food particles. Then a solution is applied to prepare the surface of the tooth for the sealant. Finally, the teeth are rinsed and dried and the sealant is applied. Sometimes a curing light is used to help the material harden more quickly.
With good hygiene, the sealant should last around 10 years, getting children through the period of time when they're at greatest risk of decay. If it should require a touch-up, this can be easily completed during a routine office visit.
Arlington Children’s Dentist
Dr. Gregory provides a full range of dentistry services for the whole family, and is ready to help give your child the healthy smile they deserve. For children's dentistry in Arlington, call (703) 527-6495 or request your appointment now.