What are sealants? How do sealants help preventing cavities?
Sealants are resin coatings applied on the teeth to protect the pitted and grooved areas (mostly chewing surfaces) from food debris and bacteria therefore preventing cavities. Research has shown that pits and grooves are the most cavity-prone areas of the tooth. Normal tooth brushing has no access to those areas. More than 90% of all cavities occur in the narrow pits and grooves of a child’s newly erupted teeth because of trapped food particles and bacteria. To get the maximum benefit from sealants, we suggest they be applied as soon as the tooth has fully erupted through the gum.
We only use BPA-free white filling materials.
We usually seal the molars that are most in need of sealants. The procedure is easy and pain-free. Your child will be able to eat right after the procedure.
Most insurances cover sealants as preventive services. Some companies, however, have age and specific tooth limitations. Check with your benefits provider about your child’s coverage.
Why is fluoride necessary? How to avoid too much or too little?
Children can benefit from fluoride in two different ways:
Systemic fluoride is a trace amount fluoride children ingest daily. Adequate fluoride helps teeth that have not erupted (usually permanent teeth) to develop into more cavity-resistant teeth. Too much fluoride ingested can actually be harmful to teeth.
Foods and drinks are the main source of fluoride intake. If you live in a town that has non-fluoridated water, your pediatrician or pediatric dentist will prescribe fluoride pills for your child who is 6 months or older. Before prescribing fluoride, we will review the child’s fluoride exposure, including use of bottled water, water filter at home, exposure at daycare/school etc.
Topical fluoride is highly concentrated fluoride that applied on tooth surface to help fight cavities. Surface fluoride fight cavities mostly through re-calcifying the very beginning stage of decay. Most common sources are toothpaste and fluoride treatment in dental office. Topical fluoride is not to be ingested, therefore does not eliminate the need for systemic fluoride. To avoid too much fluoride from swallowing toothpaste, parents should always put on less than pea-size amount of toothpaste for the child.
Children who have a history of multiple cavities, wear braces, or have certain medical conditions such as dry mouth are at high risk for cavities. In these cases, additional topical fluoride at home (mouthwash or prescription toothpaste) may be indicated.