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Are Sealants Right for My Child?

Your child has had a few cavities. You're concerned they may get more, especially as those permanent molars arrive. Besides good oral sealantshygiene habits, what else can protect those all-important teeth from decay? Well, your Easton, MD, dentist, Dr. Kristine Houck Morris, has an effective remedy. It's plastic sealants, an easy, economical way to shield your youngster's teeth.

The causes of tooth decay

The big culprit is bacteria. It lives within food residues between teeth and beneath the gums. Secreting destructive acids, these oral bacteria corrode enamel and infect gum tissue, resulting in tooth decay and gum disease (periodontitis).

Some individuals are more prone to tooth decay. Soft enamel has a hereditary component. However, diligent brushing and flossing, according to American Dental Association (ADA) rules, a healthy diet and semi-annual check-ups and cleanings with your Easton dentist are the best ways to bolster oral health.

What sealants can do

Many patients who need a little extra help in preventing tooth decay. Dr. Morris may recommend the application of plastic sealants. Your Easton dentist applies these ultra-thin coatings to molars and premolars. A quick, painless preventive treatment, plastic sealants completely coat the chewing surfaces of deeply grooved teeth.

Also called fissures, these dental grooves typically collect plaque and tartar even with the most diligent of brushing and flossing. "Painted" with a plastic sealant, however, these teeth can be further protected from the threat of tooth decay.

Here's how sealants work. Dr. Morris performs her usual oral examination. If she determines sealants would benefit some selected teeth (ones with no existing decay or fillings), she will clean and dry the chewing surfaces. Then, she uses a special etching liquid to prepare the surface to receive the sealant. The application is quick, and then, the dentist hardens the sealant with a curing light.

Life with sealants

While plastic sealants don't confer perfect protection from cavities, they are generally very effective. In fact, the ADA says they reduce the incidence of decay by about 50 percent. Children between the ages of six and 14 benefit most as these are the cavity-prone years.

However, older teens and adults may benefit from sealants, too, as long as their teeth are free from fillings, crowns or active decay. Parents, expect sealants to last about one year. Dr. Morris will check on their condition with each semi-annual examination and cleaning.

Find out more in Easton, MD

Why not contact Dr. Morris' office to learn more about plastic sealants? They are just one of many strategies Dr. Morris and her team have to help you keep your family's smiles strong and healthy. Call today: (410) 770-9211.

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