Pediatric Dental Specialists of Atlanta

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Sealants

The chewing surfaces of the back teeth are where cavities are most likely to form in your child’s mouth. These areas are filled with tiny grooves, known as “pits and fissures,” that can trap food and bacteria. These crevices are often too small for toothbrush bristles to clean effectively, making them prime spots for tooth decay.

Additionally, the enamel on a child’s newly erupted permanent teeth is less resistant to decay compared to that of adult teeth, which becomes stronger over time. While fluoride in toothpaste and drinking water can help strengthen enamel, it’s challenging to consistently target these grooved areas. Dental sealants offer an effective solution to this problem.

Dental sealants are clear plastic resin coatings applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth, rendering them resistant to decay. A tooth with a sealant is much less likely to develop a cavity, sparing your child from more complex dental procedures and discomfort in the future.

How Sealants Are Applied

Think of sealants as a minor protective filling, although it’s not the same as treating a cavity. Applying a sealant is painless since the enamel lacks nerves, and the process does not usually require anesthesia. The procedure involves examining and cleaning the tooth, followed by the application of an etching solution to prepare the tooth surface for better bonding. After rinsing and drying the tooth, the sealant is painted on in liquid form and quickly hardens, often with assistance from a curing light.

Concerns About BPA

Concerns were raised by a 2012 study regarding trace amounts of bisphenol-A (BPA) in some dental resins potentially affecting children’s behavior. However, the study did not conclusively prove that BPA in sealants causes behavioral issues. It’s worth noting that BPA is more commonly found in food and beverage packaging than in dental materials. Both the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and the American Dental Association continue to endorse the use of sealants, and we are here to address any concerns you might have.

Caring for Sealants

Caring for sealed teeth is no different than for unsealed teeth. Regular brushing, flossing, and professional cleanings are essential. These visits allow us to inspect the sealants for any wear and tear, ensuring they last up to 10 years. This period is crucial, as sealants have been shown to decrease decay by more than 70%.