As a parent, you have your child’s best interests at heart. That means assisting them in taking care of their oral health. However, explaining to your child that dental hygiene is essential is not easy neither is expecting them to floss and brush properly always realistic. Fortunately, Beach Dental Care Anaheim can help you protect the minor’s teeth. Dental sealant is a preventive and non-invasive procedure that lowers the risk of cavities and tooth decay. As the name suggests, it seals the tooth, preventing bacteria from contacting the chewing surface.
Defining Dental Sealants
While flossing and brushing are effective ways to prevent cavities, cleaning all nooks and crannies of your teeth, mainly the molars, can be challenging. Molars are uneven and rough. They are also a favorite area for leftover foods and cavity-causing bacteria to hide.
Dental sealant is another way to keep your teeth safe. It is a thin, protective coating that adheres to the chewing surface of your back teeth. They bond into your teeth’s grooves and depressions, forming a protective shield over the enamel of every tooth. While there are substitutes for flossing and brushing, a sealant can keep cavities from developing and even stop early decay from becoming severe cavities.
Who Should Consider Having Dental Sealants
The high probability of developing decay in grooves and depressions of molars and premolars in teenagers and children makes them ideal candidates for dental sealants. Your child should get a sealant on their permanent premolars and molars immediately after the teeth emerge. That way, the dental sealants can guard their teeth through their cavity-vulnerable years of six to fourteen.
Sometimes sealants can be suitable for baby teeth when your child’s baby teeth have deep grooves and depressions. Baby teeth hold the right spacing for permanent teeth. Therefore, you should keep your child’s teeth healthy.
According to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 2016, children without dental sealants are three times more prone to cavities in their permanent first molars than children with sealants. Additionally, two years following placement, sealants prevent approximately 80% of cavities in the permanent molars. After four years, sealants protect against 50% of cavities.
An Adult Can Still Have Dental Sealants
Since cavities are more common between children and teenagers, it does not mean you are immune to developing them as an adult. You are prone to developing a cavity irrespective of age, particularly when you compromise on oral hygiene or eat and drink sugary drinks and foods. Sealants are a preventative measure even when the patient does not have decay or cavities.
They can also be placed on adult molars with mild decay, preventing further cavities from developing. The sealants cannot be placed if your teeth already have fillings.
Most dentists do not recommend adult sealants because the teeth have been exposed to the oral microbiome. Bacteria is more likely to be trapped under your sealant in deep grooves.
If you are contemplating getting a dental sealant as an adult, call your dentist to learn more.
How Sealants Differ from Fillings
Dental terms sealants and fillings are often confused. After all, both processes coat the teeth and take less than an hour. However, they are different.
Dentists use sealants to cover teeth from damage from happening while fillings repair damage to your tooth, mainly from dental decay.
Dental sealants are made of plastic. In contrast, fillings come in materials like composite resin, gold, porcelain, and silver amalgam.
How Dental Sealants are Applied
Appling dental sealant is a painless and straightforward process. Sealing every tooth can take your skilled hygienist or dentist a couple of minutes. The procedure involves the following steps:
- The hygienist should thoroughly clean the tooth to be sealed
- The dentist then dries every tooth and puts an absorbent material like cotton around your tooth to keep it dry.
- Then an acidic solution is applied to your teeth’s chewing surfaces to roughen them up. This step assists the dental sealant bond to your teeth.
- The dental hygienist rinses and dries the teeth.
- Finally, the sealant is painted onto your tooth enamel, where it bonds to your tooth and hardens. The dentist can use a curing light to harden your dental sealant.
Dental Sealant Aftercare
Dental sealants do not require special care or treatment after their placement. Following a proper dental routine keeps them in good shape and your oral health healthy. It includes brushing using a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste twice a day, flossing once a day, and using mouthwash. You should also see your competent dentist twice a year for your dental cleaning so the professional can check the sealants for imperfections and flaws.
Foods and beverages like teas, red wine, coffee, and berries can stain your sealant. The sealant can pop off if you eat sticky and hard foods. You should also stop:
- Chewing your fingernails
- Eating acidic foods
- Tooth grinding
How long the sealant lasts depends mainly on how well you maintain them and your dentist applied the sealant. Provided you adhere to your seasoned dentist’s guidelines and instructions, they can last up to ten years.
Nevertheless, if they crack or chip, you can still undergo the process again. The dentist can reapply the sealant to all teeth with issues.
How to Make Your Child’s Dental Appointment Easier
Your child may not understand why they are in a dental office or what is taking place, making it challenging to teach your child about their oral health. It is all about distractions and maintaining a calm atmosphere for toddlers and young babies so the child does not pick up negativity and panic.
Here are tricks and tips to ease the minor to your dentist.
Good Oral Health Begins at Your Home
If your child understands oral health, begin teaching them how essential their teeth, gums, and tooth structures are. It does not have to be an exhaustive “sit-down” lecture. You can integrate learning into their daily routines, like brushing after meals.
Ask the minors for their opinions by asking questions. For example, ask about things they can do to keep their teeth strong.
Your baby should have an appointment with a dentist between one and six months, immediately after the initial baby tooth emerges. If the child is five and you suddenly introduce them to a world of white rooms with probing hands and funny smells, they will be confused. On the other hand, it will feel normal if the baby grows up with routine dental appointments.
Take Fun Tours of the Dental Office
Dental experts today are dedicated to making their patients (regardless of their size and age) comfortable and relaxed. They focus on educating and helping patients make informed decisions.
The qualified and experienced dentists at Beach Dental Care Anaheim help educators and parents debunk the myths surrounding dental visits. It is not uncommon for preschools and nurseries to make dental trips to see dental tools, speak with medical practitioners, learn about oral hygiene, and familiarize themselves with the medical environment.
You can also request your dentist if your child can take a tour.
Avoid Using Negative Words
Parents do not realize how much harm they do when describing a dental professional using negative terms and words. It is especially essential for pain and hurtful words.
Also, avoid words like “shot,” mainly if the baby has had previous stressful experiences with needles. Avoid lying to your child and making empty promises.
Play Dentist at Your Home
Most of the tricks and tips discussed here do not involve the dentist. That is why you should begin oral health education at home early. A dental clinic is a peculiar place; noises are rare, and the smell is unlike anything experienced at school or home. That is why you should familiarize your child with the typical details of a dental appointment.
Consider purchasing a tiny dental mirror and playing a “pretend” dentist with the minor. Give them a mirror and a counting stick, and request them to count the number of your teeth. If you want to educate the baby about dental sealants, ensure your conversations do not introduce fear. Make it clear why the sealant is essential.
Always Stay in the Room
Your presence will put the child at ease. It takes a second of absence to instill fear, so be a source of comfort by staying put.
Additionally, it can help to keep speaking, especially if you notice the pediatric dentist is fond of talking even when performing procedures. Empty silence can be unnerving.
Stay Relaxed and Calm
Typically, this is the most vital advice since children take their emotional cues from their parents. If the minor is unsure whether their dental visit is supposed to be frightening, your response will be their guide. If you cast worried glances at the medical practitioners or turn away during the dental sealant procedure, your baby will pick up on your anxiety.
Dress Your Baby Comfortably
Most parents worry about their children looking shabby or too casual for their dental appointment. It can be tempting to dress up the minor.
Nevertheless, you should keep the clothing as casual and loose as possible. The more physically comfortable the child feels, the more seamless the procedure will be.
Ensure Your Child Eats In advance
It is not uncommon for parents to withhold food until the dentist performs the dental sealant. It is because it is convenient to say, “I will buy you food if you cooperate.” It is an unwise idea. Nothing can make your child grouchier than an empty stomach.
Dental Sealants Risks
A dental sealant procedure is painless and does not have adverse effects after placement.
Nevertheless, there is a risk if your teeth are not thoroughly examined for tooth decay and cavities before the procedure. If the oral issues are not detected, you may require healthy tooth fillings, extraction, or nerve therapy after the dental sealant procedure.
Bisphenol A (BPA) and Dental Sealants
Bisphenol A (BPA) is an artificial chemical found in meat products, carbonless receipts, personal care products, plastic bottles, and canned foods. Being exposed to BPA is a concern because there are relationships between BPA exposure and negative health effects on the brain and prostate gland of children, infants, and fetuses.
According to the American Dental Association (ADA), most dental sealants have low BPA quantities (0.09 nanograms). The amount is below the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed limits (one million nanograms daily) for a six-year-old minor weighing approximately 44 pounds. That means you are more exposed to BPA after applying sunscreen or touching your receipt than through a dental sealant.
While dental sealants do not contain BPA, most of them have compounds that turn into BPA after contact with saliva. Luckily, scrubbing and rinsing your dental sealants after their application removes 88%–95% of compounds that can become BPA.
Most seasoned dentists believe the advantages of sealants outweigh the cons. So, until the general dentistry field creates alternative materials, they recommend sealants’ continued use. However, they recommend precautionary application techniques.
How Much Does a Dental Sealant Procedure Cost
Dental sealants cost between $30 and $60 per tooth without a dentist’s discount plan or insurance. A sealant placed on an adult tooth can be billed as one surface, posterior resin, costing $200 to $300 before insurance.
Other factors that affect the overall cost include the following:
- Your dentist’s location — Costs are often higher in cities than in rural regions.
- Necessities like x-rays and dental examinations to diagnose the issue.
- Work intensity — Tooth decay and cavities do not get less costly or simply addressed with time. If you wait to address the issue, you will require extensive treatment placing dental sealants. The more severe the issue, the higher the price tag due to the work complexity.
Do Insurance Companies Cover Sealants
Dental insurance providers cover sealants for minor children. Some insurers can only cover sealants after a dental examination or on specific teeth.
California has a school-based sealant program for minors unlikely to visit dentists regularly. Typically, the program is for children from low-income families.
How to Prevent Tooth Cavities and Decay Development After Dental Sealant Placement
A cavity is a permanently damaged area of your tooth’s hard surface that develops into a small hole or opening. When a tooth is frequently exposed to acid, like when you drink or eat beverages or foods high in starches and sugar, the enamel loses minerals. A white spot can appear where minerals have been lost, an early sign of decay. If left untreated, a cavity can become bigger and affect deep tooth layers, resulting in tooth loss, toothache, and infection.
Other symptoms of tooth decay include:
- Toothache (spontaneous pain that happens without an apparent cause)
- White, black, or brown staining on your tooth surface
- Tooth sensitivity
- Pain (mild or sharp) when drinking or eating something hot, cold, or sweet
Some of the ways to prevent tooth decay after dental sealant placement include:
- Refrain from bedtime infant feeding — When you give your baby a bedtime bottle filled with formula, juice, or milk, the beverages remain on their teeth for many hours while they sleep, feeding decay-causing bacteria.
- Brush your teeth — You should brush your teeth at least twice a day using toothpaste with fluoride and a soft-bristled toothbrush. Ensure you brush all sides of the teeth, including the top, back, front, and back. Remember to brush your cheeks’ inside, the roof of the mouth, and your tongue using gentle and circular motions. Brushing removes plaque and tartar.
- Flossing — Food particles can be trapped between your teeth. Unremoved debris can cause cavities. Flossing once a day is an effective way to eliminate the debris from between your teeth. After flossing, brush and rinse your mouth with either mouthwash or water. You do not have to brush your teeth, so do not skip flossing if you do not have your toothbrush handy.
- Rinse the mouth — If the dentist feels that you are more vulnerable to cavities, they can recommend using a mouth rinse containing fluoride.
- Drink a lot of tap water — Many public water supplies add fluoride, which can reduce tooth decay considerably. If you drink bottled water without fluoride, you miss out on fluoride benefits.
- Visit your qualified dentist regularly — Receiving regular dental examinations and cleaning can prevent or identify oral issues early.
- Eat healthy foods — Avoid foods that can stick in the pits and grooves of the teeth longer or brush immediately after eating them. Snacking and sipping throughout the day assist mouth bacteria in creating acids that can destroy your enamel. Instead, eat fresh vegetables and fruits to increase your saliva flow. Sugar-free gum and unsweetened coffee and tea wash away debris.
Find a Skilled and Experienced Anaheim Dentist Near Me
A dental sealant is a preventive treatment that dentists at Beach Dental Care Anaheim place on your teeth’s chewing surface. That way, it blocks food particles and bacteria that can cause cavities and decay. It also forms a coating over the grooves and pits of your tooth surface, making it easier to brush your teeth.
Please contact us at 714-995-4000 to schedule your initial consultation and learn whether you are an ideal candidate for the treatment. We will be glad to help you keep your smile and teeth in good health.