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Dental sealants are a great option for parents who want to protect a child’s teeth from decay during the cavity-prone years of ages 6 to 11. Sealants are thin coatings that are applied to teeth in liquid form, then hardened with light or chemical activation. They are typically used to protect molars, as the “pit and fissure” surface of these back teeth makes them particularly prone to trapping food and bacteria and developing cavities.
Why Should Consider Sealants for My Child?
The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends sealants for the primary and permanent molars of all children and adolescents. The ADA points to studies that show sealants prevent 80 percent of cavities during the first two years after an application, and half of all cavities within four years.
Although many adults also choose sealants for their own teeth, children’s teeth are particularly vulnerable to decay as soon as they emerge. Tooth enamel has not reached its peak strength in newly erupted teeth. And the fragility of new teeth combined with kids’ sugary dietary choices sends the cavity risk soaring. Fluoride in toothpaste and in-office treatments can help, but even this protective compound cannot always reach into the deep indentations of molars.
At Contos Smile Center, our Chicago general dentist, Dr. Contos, can place effective dental sealants in just one appointment.
How Dental Sealants Work
Like tooth-colored fillings, sealants are made of a composite resin material that acts as a protective shield for teeth. The coating is extremely thin and completely invisible. Because most dental sealant patients are very young, it is important that the process is simple, quick and completely free of pain or discomfort.
There is no drilling or reshaping of the tooth involved, so not even topical anesthetic is needed. Your skilled general dentist in Chicago, IL first examines, cleans and dries the teeth, then applies a mild acid solution to add texture to the surface, allowing for optimal bonding with the sealant. After a second round of rinsing and drying, the liquid sealant is carefully applied, then cured with the special light or activated chemically. The whole process is over in minutes.
Starting Early with Dental Sealants
Sealants can provide protection for as long as 10 years, definitely long enough to shield your child’s teeth well into adolescence. Sometimes parents also choose a sealant for baby teeth, especially if the teeth are characterized by extensive grooves, pits and fissures. Baby teeth are placeholders for permanent teeth, helping to guide them into their proper positions. And a missing tooth during the time a child is refining speech can have a lifelong effect on enunciation.
Dental sealants can also be a practical choice for adults who seek extra protection from cavities, although it is not recommended that sealants be used to cover teeth with existing fillings.
For more information on dental sealants, or to schedule an appointment in our Chicago, IL office, call (773) 973-0531 or email Contos Smile Center today. We also welcome patients from Streeterville, Oak Park, and West Town, IL.
We are dedicated to providing the highest level of service and quality to our patient community by cultivating strong relationships, communicating thoughtful treatment solutions, and providing an enjoyable atmosphere, we can empower our patients to take ownership of their oral health.
We are committed to researching and offering state-of-the-art dental solutions in order to deliver the most advanced treatment options to our patients.