Dental sealants and fluoride treatment for preventing cavities

Children and chocolates go hand in hand, and you may think there is little we can do to dial down the damage done through the indulgence in sweet treats and sugary drinks.

But the good news is, that caries can be prevented. This can be done through the combined application of dental sealants and fluoride varnishes. These treatments have been proven to thwart cavities and protect teeth.

Children are not exactly the most meticulous brushers as well, with a tendency to ignore the problem areas in the back of the mouth that can lead to cavities and decay, making them the prime candidates for dental sealants and fluoride treatment.

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What are dental sealants?

Dental sealants are thin, protective coatings applied to the chewing surface of molars (back teeth). The grooves, pits, fissures, and recesses on the biting surface of molars trap food particles and bacteria. The brush and floss do not adequately reach these surfaces, failing to remove the debris and plaque that accumulate causing cavities. Dental sealants, therefore, are a kind of safety net used to protect these hard-to-reach teeth, and notably can only be applied on healthy, permanent teeth.

It does not involve any drilling or pain and can be applied in under a few minutes, making it a convenient yet effective remedy against tooth decay.

When should your child get dental sealants?

The American Dental Association recommends children receive dental sealants as soon as their first permanent back teeth erupt, that is between the ages of six and seven, and again when their second permanent molars come in, between 12 and 13 years old. This is also the age when children are most cavity prone, due to their fondness for sweet treats.

While dental sealants are typically meant for children as a preventive treatment against decay, adults can have them too, provided they have cavity-free molars and healthy teeth.

How long do dental sealants last?

Dental sealants can safely protect the teeth for up to 10 years with proper care. However, there is no guarantee of them lasting a lifetime, which is why it is necessary to have them checked regularly.

During your child’s dental exams, our paediatric dentist will check the sealants to make sure they’re still in place and durable. If a sealant is missing, we can quickly replace it. To help sealants last as long as possible, your child should avoid hard, sticky candy, chewing on ice or lollipops, or things that will easily wear the sealant down.

What is fluoride treatment and why is it needed?

Fluoride is a natural mineral that can strengthen teeth and reduce the risk of cavities. It is found in various foods and water. It is especially beneficial when baby teeth are just about forming, as fluoride strengthens tooth enamel, and makes it stronger and more resistant to cavities.

How is fluoride administered?

Fluoride can be applied topically to your child’s teeth to help prevent caries (cavities). The application of fluoride can be in gel, foam, or varnish form. During a professional fluoride treatment at Micris Dental Clinic, a varnish containing high amounts of the mineral is applied on both primary and permanent teeth. This procedure only takes a few minutes.

Besides in-office fluoride application, the essential mineral can also be found in products such as toothpaste and mouthwashes, so remember to always pick one containing fluoride as an ingredient. Besides strengthening baby teeth, fluoride helps fight cavities too, as per new research. Therefore, adults too can benefit from fluoride treatments or topical applications of the mineral.

Preventive dentistry is the best form of dentistry. By catching problems early, you can save yourself and your children from lengthy and expensive dental treatments in the future. Dental sealants and fluoride treatment are the easiest and clinically proven ways of avoiding cavities and a steep bill.

If you want to prevent tooth decay in your little one’s teeth, make sure you book them in for a sealant and fluoride treatment at Micris Dental Clinic. We house a highly experienced team of dentists who can keep your child’s oral health in check.