“Cavity” is the last word any parent wants to hear from their child’s dentist. Unfortunately, tooth decay is all too common among children. Dental issues that begin during childhood often have lasting impacts on a child’s oral health, leading to costly treatments and more frequent trips to the dentist in the future. Fortunately, there are treatments available to help spare your child from a lifetime of dental-related frustrations. In this article, we’ll discuss the benefits of composite fillings and dental sealants, as well as the applications of both, and when they are an appropriate solution for mitigating or repairing your child’s teeth.
What are Composite Fillings?
Composite dental fillings are tooth-colored dental cements made from synthetic resin. These fillings are used to patch cavities in teeth to prevent further deterioration of the tooth.
A composite filling is a dental treatment reserved for addressing tooth decay only once it has begun. The following are some of the big advantages composite fillings provide:
- Fewer bacteria in the mouth
- Extended longevity of teeth
- Less need for additional dental work
A composite fillings procedure is virtually painless and lasts only a few minutes.
- The doctor will begin by numbing the area surrounding the damaged tooth with a local anesthetic. Once the area is sufficiently numb, they can move on to the next step in the procedure.
- The doctor uses a dental drill to remove all traces of decay from the tooth.
- Once tooth decay has been removed, a self-etching dental adhesive is applied to the area. This adhesive provides a rough surface onto which the filling can stick. Once applied, the adhesive is dried and cured.
- The filling is applied to the prepared area via a syringe. It is then dried and cured.
- The filling is polished until smooth and natural in appearance.
What are Dental Sealants?
Unlike composite fillings, dental sealant is a preventative treatment, meaning it is applied to your child’s teeth before any signs of tooth decay is present. Dental sealant is made of a material similar to that of composite fillings, lending the sealant a natural appearance while remaining resilient.
Why Use Dental Sealant?
Teeth have many nooks and crannies which can be difficult or even impossible to clean. This is especially true for kids, from whom even a routine teeth brushing can often pose a challenge. Inadequate cleaning of these problematic areas of the teeth increases the risk of bacterial buildup and eventual tooth decay.
Dental sealants fill these craggy tooth areas, creating a smooth, uniform surface that is easier to clean and maintain while preventing bacteria from penetrating deeper into the tooth.
How is Dental Sealant Applied?
The process of applying dental sealant is rather simple and completely painless.
The doctor cleans the area onto which the sealant is to be applied.
- The area is then etched using a delicate dental instrument. This provides a better surface for the sealant.
- The sealant is applied via a syringe.
- The sealant is allowed to dry.
- The area is polished to look smooth and natural.
How to Prevent the Need for These Treatments
While a dental sealant treatment is a great way to lessen your child’s risk of tooth decay, it isn’t necessary. By taking the proper steps, and instilling in your child the importance of good oral health practices, it is possible to avoid cavities as well as the need for preventative or restorative dental treatments like sealants and fillings. The following are a few important guidelines:
- Schedule dental checkups every six months
- Floss and brush at least twice a day
- Talk to your child about the importance of good oral hygiene
- Avoid feeding your child foods high in sugar and starch