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Kids, Services

Dental Sealants

Dental sealants are plastic coatings that are usually placed on the chewing (occlusal) surface of the permanent back teeth — the molars and premolars (small molars) — to help protect them from cavity formation. Why are dental sealants placed on teeth? The chewing surfaces of the molar and premolar teeth have grooves — “fissures” — that make them more likely to get cavities. These fissures can be deep, difficult to clean, and can be narrower than even a single bristle of your tooth brush.   Plaque sticks in these areas creating the environment for cavities to form.  Dental sealants provide extra protection for the grooved and pitted areas by creating a smooth surface covering over the fissured area. When is the best time to have dental sealants placed? The best time for dental sealants to be placed is when the tooth first completely emerges from the gum.  This way there has been little chance that a cavity has started to form in the grooves of the teeth.  This early protection can help us get through times when we really don’t brush or take care of our teeth as we should.  Molars are often the recipients of this treatment.  However the smaller molars (premolars) can benefit from this preventive measure as well. Are dental sealants only placed on the chewing surface of molar and premolar permanent teeth? Dental sealants are usually placed on the chewing surfaces of these teeth because these are the areas and teeth that typically have deep fissures (grooves). Dental sealants are sometimes also used on other permanent teeth if they have grooves or pits, to help protect these surfaces. What do dental sealants look like? Dental sealants can be clear, white or have a slight tint depending upon the dental sealant used. How are dental sealants placed? First, the tooth surface is thoroughly cleaned with a paste and rotating brush by your dentist or hygienist.  Next the tooth is washed with water and dried. Then a solution that is acidic is placed on the fissured area of the tooth’s chewing surface for a number of seconds before being rinsed off. This creates small microscopic areas with a fine rougher surface than the surrounding tooth enamel, that can be seen with a microscope. The cleaning or roughening of the tooth is what allows the sealant to stay in place. After the tooth is dried again, the liquid dental sealant is placed on the tooth and hardened. Dental sealants are hardened by using a special blue light. Once the dental sealant has hardened it becomes a hard plastic coating, and you can chew on the tooth again.  In some cases it may feel a little funny when you bite down but within a day or so this evens out and feels normal again. How long does a dental sealant last? Dental sealants have been used and have been proven to be effective since the 1970s. Many studies have shown that they are effective in helping to prevent decay on chewing (occlusal) surfaces. Typically dental sealants last many years even for the life of the tooth.  This is a good way to protect unnecessary tooth removal due to dental decay in the future.

Kids, Services

Dentistry for Kids

Your dental health is one of the MOST important components of a long and healthy life and for most, this should start as early as possible. By helping your children learn the importance of going to the dentist at an early age, you’ll set them up for a lifetime of good oral health! What should you expect in their dental progression as your children grow up? Baby’s first teeth 0-6 years People usually think of a newborn baby as having no teeth. But the 20 primary teeth (baby teeth) that will erupt during the first three years already are present at birth in the baby’s jawbones. At birth, most of the crowns (i.e. the white tooth part we see) are almost complete, and the chewing surfaces of the permanent molars have begun forming. Primary teeth are important in normal development – for chewing, speaking and appearance. In addition, primary teeth hold the space in the jaws fro the permanent teeth. Both primary and permanent teeth help give the face its shape and form. A baby’s front four teeth usually come in first, typically at or about six months of age, although some children don’t have their first tooth until twelve or fourteen months. Most children have full set of 20 primary teeth by the time they are three years old. As your child grow, the jaws also grow, making room for the permanent teeth that will begin to erupt at about age six. At the same time, the roots of the primary teeth begin to be absorbed by the tissues around them, and the permanent teeth under them begin to erupt. Typically, children have the majority of their permanent teeth by 12 to 14 years of age. The remaining four permanent molars, often called wisdom teeth, erupt around age 21 to complete the set of 32 permanent teeth. When teeth begin erupting, some babies may have sore or tender gums. Gently rubbing your child’s gums with a clean finger or a wet gauze pad can be soothing. You also can give the baby a clean teething ring to chew on, by never dipped in sugar or syrup. If your child is still cranky and uncomfortable, consult your dentist or physician. contrary to common belief, fever is not normal for a teething baby. If your infant has an unusually high or persistent fever while teething, call your physician. The Transition Years 6-12 As children develop, their jaws and faces continue to change. The transition from baby teeth to adult teeth is gradual. by the time they reach adulthood, most children will progress from their 20 primary teeth(baby teeth) to 32 permanent (adult) teeth. All the while, the jaw gradually expands to make room for the additional 12 teeth. At about age six, maybe earlier, children begin to lose their front teeth on top and bottom. During the next six or so years, permanent teeth gradually will replace the primary teeth. The first permanent molars usually erupt between ages five and six. For that reason, they are often call the six-year molars. They are amount the “extra” permanent teeth tin the at they don’t replace an existing baby tooth. These important adult teeth are often mistaken for baby teeth. However, they are permanent and must be cared for properly if they are to last throughout the child’s lifetime. The six-year molars are especially important because they help determine the shape of the lower face. They also affect the position and health of other permanent teeth. Cleaning Your Child’s Teeth Begin cleaning the baby’s mouth during the first few days after birth. After every feeding, wipe the baby’s gums either with a clean, wet gauze pad or with a washcloth or towel. This removes plaque and residual food and helps children become accustomed to having their mouth checked. When your infant’s teeth begin to erupt, it is important to clean them regularly. You may continue to use a gauze pad or cloth to clean the incisors after feeding until the back teeth (molars) begin to erupt (usually around 12 months of age). Once a molar appears, brush all teeth gently with a child’s size sort toothbrush and water. Position your child so you can see in to the mouth easily; you may want to sit, resting his/her head in your lap. When your child can predictably spit and not swallow toothpaste, begin brushing the teeth with a pea-sized amount of toothpaste. If the toothbrush looks worn, the bristles bent or frayed, it will not remove plaque effectively. Visiting your dentist every 6 months will ensure you get a free replacement twice a year. Flossing should also be encouraged. You may have to do this for the child initially. Remember the gums are very sensitive and snapping the floss between the teeth may negatively reinforce this important cleaning step. First Dental Visit If you follow the above recommendations carefully, the first visit with the dentist can be around the age of 2-3. Some recommend bringing in the child at first tooth eruption. This can be a good idea because it enables the dentist and staff to evaluate the development of your child’s teeth and to go over specific questions that you might have. This visit is similar to a well baby checkup with the child’s physician. During the first visit, the dentist can: Your Child’s First Visit The first “regular” dental visit should be just after your child’s third birthday. The first visit is usually short and involves very little treatment. We may ask the parent to sit in the dental chair and hold their child during the examination. The parent may also be asked to wait in the reception area during part of the visit so that a relationship can be built between your child and your dentist. We will gently examine your child’s teeth and gums. X-rays may be taken (to reveal decay and check on the progress of your child’s permanent teeth under the gums). We may clean your child’s teeth and apply topical fluoride to help protect the teeth against

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