The Importance of Sealants for Children's Dental Health
Bank Street Dentistryis a trusted dental clinic in Ottawa that provides a variety of dental procedures to meet the needs of patients of all ages. One of the most common procedures for children is the installation of dental sealants, which can help prevent tooth decay and maintain the overall health of their teeth.
What Are Sealants and How Do They Work?
Dental sealants are a plastic coating applied to the surface of teeth to prevent decay. Sealants are typically applied to the molars and premolars at the back of the mouth, where cavities are more likely to form. The sealant is designed to stick to the enamel, specifically over grooves where food can collect. This reduces the risk of cavities forming in these narrow grooves that can be difficult to keep clean.
The Sealant Procedure: Cleaning, Etching, and Application
Before applying the sealant, your dentist will thoroughly clean and dry your child's teeth. Then, they will likely roughen up the surface of the teeth to help the sealant bond to the tooth, which is then rinsed and dried again. Your dentist will then paint the sealant onto the tooth, where it bonds directly and hardens. Sometimes a special light is used to help the sealant harden.
Air Abrasion and Dental Drill Options for Cleaning
To ensure that the tooth is thoroughly cleaned before the sealant is applied, your dentist may use air abrasion or a dental drill. Air abrasion involves using a small machine to blast high pressure air at your child's teeth to blow away debris. Alternatively, a dental drill can be used to buff out any remaining debris. Etching is then performed to roughen the surface of the tooth in preparation for the sealant.
Curing the Sealant and Post-Application Care
After the sealant is applied, your dentist will use a curing light to speed up the hardening process, which takes about 60 seconds. After the sealant has hardened, your child can resume their normal eating and drinking habits. Regular dental checkups and cleanings, as well as a good dental hygiene routine, can help ensure that the sealant continues to protect your child's teeth for many years to come.