Family Dental Visit

Tooth decay is one of the most common childhood health problems in the United States—at any given time, one in five grade-schoolers has at least one untreated dental cavity. To help reduce your child’s cavity risk by up to 80%, the proactive pediatric dentists at Pettinato Children’s Dentistry provide protective dental sealants for hard-to-brush molars. To schedule your child’s next appointment with Dr. Pettinato’s office call their Wesley Chapel, Florida, office or book online today.

Helping your child develop great oral hygiene habits is one of the best ways to reduce their cavity risk. But even if proper brushing and flossing do a relatively good job of removing food particles, liquid residues, plaque, and bacteria from the smooth sides of your child’s teeth, a toothbrush can’t always reach the deeper depressions along the bite surface of each molar.

Sealants Q & A

What are sealants?
A dental sealant is a dental resin applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth. The resin flows into the pits and grooves in teeth. The sealant forms a barrier, protecting enamel by sealing out food and plaque.

How do dental sealants help?

Tooth decay often occurs on the chewing surfaces of the back molars or the lingual grooves and pits of the anterior teeth. In these locations the pits and grooves are so deep that they are often impossible to keep clean because toothbrush bristles  alone are just too big to reach down into the microscopic tooth grooves and pits that bacteria hide in. The dental sealant helps by filling in the deeper grooves and pits so the toothbrush is able to keep the areas clean. Even if you brush, floss and eat healthy, you can still get a cavity. Mother nature is not always fair, but sealants can help.

How long do dental sealants take to apply?

Sealants take only a few minutes to apply to the teeth. They do not hurt. We often compare it to having nail polish applied to your nails.

How long do sealants last?

Sealants may last several years before they need to be replaced. Over time sealants can become loose or worn and need to be replaced . During regular dental visits your dentist will check the sealants and  talk to you about reapplying them if needed. 

Who should get sealants?

Everyone! Prevention is better than treatment! Sealants help stop tooth decay and can save patients from getting cavities and also save parents money over time!

When should my child get sealants?

Sealants are only applied to the bite surfaces of molars and premolars. Whenever possible, your child should receive sealants soon after these teeth have fully erupted, before they’re affected by plaque buildup, bacteria, and decay.

Most kids receive their first sealants around the age of six, which is typically when their first set of molars come in. Their second sealant application occurs around the age of 12 when their second set of molars appears.

How are sealants applied?
Sealant application is an easy and painless process that takes place at the end of a routine cleaning and exam. After your child’s teeth have been cleaned and polished, their dentist at Pettinato Children’s Dentistry applies a special gel to the chewing surfaces of the teeth that are being treated.

After letting it sit for a few seconds, they gently rinse the gel off, dry the teeth, and paint the liquid sealant on each intended bite surface with a tiny brush. Finally, they shine a special light on each sealant-coated tooth to promote a quick cure or hardening. It takes about one minute for a sealant to form a long-lasting protective shield.

How effective are sealants?
Four out of five cavities in children occur in the crevices and grooves of their molars. Applying sealants to those cavity-prone areas can reduce your child’s risk of tooth decay by as much as 80%.

Choosing to forgo the treatment, however, can drastically increase your child’s cavity risk—school-age children without sealants have almost three times as many cavities as children with sealants.

But even though sealants are highly effective at keeping plaque, bacteria, and decay away from the bite surfaces of your child’s back teeth, these surfaces still require adequate brushing to keep decay at bay.

To learn more about the benefits of sealants, call Pettinato Children's Dentistry at (813) 907-3100
or schedule an appointment online today.

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