San Carlos, CA
Protecting your child’s teeth is one of the most important things you can do for their oral health. Establishing a strong foundation early on can lead to a lifetime of healthy teeth. At Frank Hsu, D.D.S., we offer several preventive services to keep tooth decay and gum disease at bay. One of these services, dental sealants, can protect your child’s teeth for many years!
What Are Dental Sealants?
A dental sealant is a thin plastic coating that we place on the occlusal (bite) surface of vulnerable teeth. More specifically, we use sealants to protect the posterior teeth—the molars and premolars. Dental sealants are usually placed on the chewing surfaces of these teeth, because these areas are harder to keep clean, especially for children. These teeth have deep grooves or fissures that can trap food debris and bacteria. In some cases, these fissures are so thin that even a toothbrush brush cannot properly clean the area.
We typically recommend sealants once the permanent teeth erupt, especially if your child is prone to cavities. We want to prevent plaque and bacteria from accumulating in these areas. If bacteria are allowed to accumulate, the acid from bacteria will attack the enamel and cause cavities to develop. A dental sealant will seal off the area for extra protection. It will also create a smoother surface with is easier to clean. We also offer fluoride treatment to help prevent decay and protect all surfaces of the teeth.
The Dental Sealant Process
After your child’s permanent teeth erupt, typically around the ages of 11-13, Dr. Hsu will discuss the benefits of dental sealants. After we have determined that sealants are the right course of action, we can schedule the procedure.
During the procedure, we will thoroughly clean the surface of the tooth with a paste and rotating brush. Then, we will wash and dry the tooth. After the tooth is completely dry, we will use an acidic solution on the fissured areas to create a rougher surface. A rough surface allows the sealant to better adhere to the tooth. After the tooth is dried again, the dental sealant will be applied to the surface in liquid form.
In some cases, we use an ultraviolet curing light to harden the material. In others, we can set the sealant without the use of light. After the sealant is hard, the procedure is complete. Your child will now have a varnish coating that protects their tooth from the harmful effects of bacteria.
After a Dental Sealant Is in Place
Dental sealants have been used to protect teeth since the 1970s. Since then, studies have shown that sealants are an effective tool against tooth decay. Under the right care, most sealants will last for many years. Over time, the sealant can wear away or pop off. Once this happens, we may suggest a new dental sealant to extend the protection.
A dental sealant is not a replacement for excellent oral hygiene. Be sure your child is brushing and flossing their teeth on a daily basis.
Schedule Your Child’s Appointment
Do not neglect your child’s oral health! Protect their teeth with dental sealants. Call 650.262.1940 to schedule their appointment today!
hing and flossing.