In addition to regular exams and cleanings, fluoride treatments and sealants can be extremely beneficial for children’s teeth. These two additional treatments can work together to reduce the chance of tooth decay in children and teens even more. Here are some basic facts about these treatments provided by a children’s dentist in Wichita.
Some water supplies are already fluoridated, and many toothpastes and mouthwashes provide fluoride. However, if these sources don’t provide enough fluoride, children may be missing out on the benefits of regular fluoride treatment. A fluoride varnish can be painted on teeth to help stop or slow cavities that have already formed or to help prevent new cavities. It does this by concentrating in the developing teeth to help harden the enamel on baby teeth. It can also help to harden enamel on future adult teeth as well as those that have already emerged. Fluoride is a good habit to start in children because it is beneficial for teeth in adults also.
Sealants are thin plastic coatings placed on the back teeth of children and teens. They are not generally visible since they are clear or white. They are usually placed on permanent molars, which come in around the ages of six and twelve. The coating forms a protective barrier on the grooves of the teeth so that the bacteria can’t get in and cause the teeth to begin to decay. The tooth must first be prepared with a special gel that is applied and then washed off. The sealant is applied by painting the coating on the tooth. A special light is used to help harden the sealant, which only takes about a minute. Then the sealants are checked to ensure a good fit on the tooth. Sealants usually last a few years, but the dentist will check at every visit to ensure the sealants are still in place.
Clearly, the main benefit of fluoride and sealants is the prevention of tooth decay. This can save a lot of money in the long run, especially since the treatments themselves are inexpensive and usually covered by insurance. Receiving these treatments by a children’s dentist in Wichita will help keep the teeth healthy for many years to come.