Dental sealant is a strong, plastic, clear or tooth-coloured coating that is applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth where pit and fissures form. A sealant acts as a barrier, protecting the enamel from bacterial plaque in these cavity-prone areas.
Pit and Fissure Sealants
Fissures are the grooves on the chewing surface of the back teeth caused by normal tooth development. Pits form where two fissures cross. They are extremely difficult places to clean since toothbrush bristles cannot reach all the way into the groves to remove food and plaque. The enamel layer can also be thin in these areas, causing decay to progress easier, faster, and deeper into the grooves.
Dental sealants can help protect these vulnerable areas by “sealing out” plaque and food. The application is quick, easy, and painless with no drilling or freezing required. In addition to being an effective preventative measure, sealants cost less than having a cavity filled.
Fluoride Application for Caries Prevention
It is widely accepted by dental professionals, including the Canadian Dental Association, that fluoride is one of the most successful preventative measure for dental caries. The use of fluoridated toothpasts and mouth rinses is encouraged for children and adult of all ages.
However, young children should always be supervised by adults when taking care of their teeth and gums. For children from 0-3 years of age, parents should always consult a health professional to determined whether they are at risk of developing tooth decay. If such a risk exists, the child’s teeth should be brushed by an adult using a minimal amount (the size of a grain of rice) of fluoridated toothpaste. If the child is not considered to be at risk, their teeth should be brushed by an adult using a toothbrush moistened only with water.
For children 3-6 years of age, parents should assist them in brushing their teeth. Only a small amount (the size of a green pea) of fluoridated toothpaste should be used. Fluoridated mouth rinses is not recommended for children under 6 years of age.
For more questions about sealants and other dental procedures, contact Dr. Komal Jains' Mississisauga dental office today.