What Is Preventive Dentistry?
Treatments which are done to prevent any oral diseases fall into this category. These procedures will cost you less time, pain/discomfort and money as prevention is always cheaper and painless than cure.
What Do We Do To Prevent Decay?
Children are more prone to cavities compared to adults due to high sugar intake and improper oral hygiene maintenance. Pediatric dentists prevent decay majorly by applying sealants and topical fluorides. Parents can do this by brushing their kids teeth in the night and reduce the frequency of consumption of sugary substances.
What Are Sealants?
A sealant is a clear shaded resin material that is usually applied to the pits and fissures (deep grooves/depressions present on surface) of back teeth to make them cavity free. Sealants protect the grooved and pitted chewing surfaces of back teeth where most cavities in children are found. In other words, they seal the tooth and prevent food sticking for prolonged period thereby, preventing caries.
Why do we need to put sealants?
When a tooth is developing, deep grooves form in the biting surfaces of the back teeth. These grooves are called “fissures”. When two or more fissures intersect, it is called a “pit”. Thorough daily brushing, flossing and rinsing help remove food particles and bacterial plaque from the smooth surfaces of teeth. However, toothbrush bristles cannot reach all the way into the pits and fissures from where food and bacteria cannot be easily removed. Although only 12.5% of all tooth surfaces are chewing surfaces, these surfaces develop more than two thirds of the total cavities experienced by children. Tooth sealants protect these vulnerable areas by “sealing out” plaque and food. Research shows that sealing the occlusal surfaces of permanent molars in children and adolescents reduces caries up to 48 months and are effective in high risk children. Children are much more susceptible to tooth decay than adults. When possible, sealants should be applied to children’s teeth before decay has had a chance to begin.
How Long Do The Sealants Work?
Research shows that sealants can last for 3 to 5 years if properly cared for. Your pediatric dentist will check the sealants during routine dental visits and recommend re-application or repair when necessary.
Does The Procedure Hurt?
The application of a sealant is quick and comfortable. It takes only one visit. The tooth is first cleaned. It is then conditioned and dried. The sealant is then flowed onto the grooves of the tooth and allowed to harden or hardened with a special light. Your child will be able to eat his usual diet after 30 minutes post application.
How Much Does It Cost?
The treatment is very affordable, especially in view of the valuable decay protection it offers your child. Moreover, prevention is cheaper and painless than cure.