Sealants & Fluoride Treatment
Tooth decay has become increasingly prevalent in preschoolers. Not only is tooth decay unpleasant and painful, it can also lead to more serious problems like premature tooth loss and childhood periodontal disease.
Dental sealants are an important tool in preventing childhood caries (cavities) and tooth decay. Especially when used in combination with other preventative measures, like biannual checkups and an excellent daily home care routine, sealants can bolster the mouth’s natural defenses and keep smiles healthy.
How Do Sealants Protect Children’s Teeth?
In general, dental sealants are used to protect molars from oral bacteria and harmful oral acids. These larger, flatter teeth reside toward the back of the mouth and can be difficult to clean. Molars mark the site of four out of five instances of tooth decay. Decay-causing bacteria often inhabit the nooks and crannies (pits and fissures) found on the chewing surfaces of the molars. These areas are extremely difficult to access with a regular toothbrush.
The sealant acts as a barrier, ensuring that food particles and oral bacteria can not access vulnerable tooth enamel. Dental sealants do not enhance the health of the teeth directly, and should not be used as a substitute for fluoride supplements (if the dentist has recommended them) or general oral care. In general, however, sealants are less costly, less uncomfortable, and more aesthetically pleasing than dental fillings.
When Should Sealants Be Applied?
Sealants are usually applied when the primary (baby) molars first emerge. Depending on the oral habits of the child, the sealants may last for the life of the primary tooth or need to be replaced several times. Essentially, sealant durability depends on the oral habits of the individual child.
Pediatric dentists recommend that permanent molars be sealed as soon as they emerge. In some cases, sealant can be applied before the permanent molar is full grown. The health of the sealant must be monitored at biannual appointments. If the seal begins to lift off, food particles may become trapped against the tooth enamel, actually causing tooth decay.
A space maintainer is a small dental appliance that is used to hold the space of one or more missing baby teeth until the permanent teeth grow in. A space maintainer is usually only necessary when a baby tooth has been removed or fallen out prematurely.
There are several different types of space keepers. Space keepers can either be fixed (non-removable) or removable. While space maintainers can be made from metal, acrylic, or a combination, one of the most common space maintainer designs is a simple metallic band with an attached wire.
During the initial appointment, impressions will be taken of your child’s teeth. The impression will be used to create your child’s custom-made space maintainer.
At the second appointment, our experienced Mississauga dentist will attach the space maintainer. Following this appointment, your child will be able to eat and drink normally.
To learn more about space maintainers or to schedule an appointment for your child, please call Derry Village Dental today and one of our friendly team members will answer any questions you may have.