Tooth decay is a persistent problem that affects many American children and adults. The latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers the following estimates for Americans with tooth decay:
- 37 percent of children 2-8 years old
- 58 percent of teens 12-19 years old
- 91 percent of adults 20-64 years old
These percentages represent a large portion of the country’s population. Unfortunately, only a fraction of these children, teens, and adults take advantage of dental sealants — a disappointing fact as dental sealants are among the most effective preventive treatments against tooth decay.
Midjersey Smiles is not discouraged by the small population of individuals with dental sealants. In fact, we consider this an opportunity to spread awareness about tooth decay prevention. Patients who visit our clinic in Old Bridge, New Jersey are welcome to schedule a consultation regarding dental sealants.
Allow us to offer more information about this preventive treatment.
Surface Sealing: Filling Pits and Fissures in Teeth
Food particles can stick to the chewing surfaces of teeth and stay wedged in its crevices; and sometimes, brushing, flossing, and swilling with mouthwash are not enough to remove them. As a result, plaque, or the sticky deposit where bacteria grow, can build up in the pits and fissures of the teeth.
This is how tooth decay or dental caries starts. Oral bacteria produce a type of acid that’s not harmful to the health but can eat away at teeth’s enamel and dentin over time. Cavities form when the acid makes headway into these hard tissues. Bacteria will continue to wreak havoc as long as they get a constant supply of simple sugars from high-carbohydrate diets.
Molars are the prime candidates for pit and fissure caries. They are wider than the rest and have a rough surface with hairline fissures towards their centers.
To prevent plaque and bacteria from proliferating in these spaces, dentists apply dental sealants on the top of the molars and other affected teeth. Sealants are liquids that harden seconds after application. They seal the pits and fissures of the teeth, protecting it from tooth decay.
Treatment for Caries
Although dental sealants are primarily used for tooth decay prevention, studies show that they are also an effective treatment for existing tooth decay.
Sealants can arrest the progression of early and existing tooth decay by containing bacteria and cutting off their food supply. The only drawback of not removing the decay first is it lowers the retention rate of dental sealants.
A Procedure Safe for All Ages
One of the most common questions we hear about dental sealants is whether they’re safe. You’ll be pleased to know that they are. In fact, the BPA content of dental sealants is only 0.001 percent— a negligible value compared to the packaging for processed food, cosmetics, receipt sheets, even air.
This preventive treatment is so safe that the American Dental Association (ADA) says children can get dental sealants for their molars as soon as they appear. First molars break through the gums when children are around 6 years old, and second molars make their appearance by the time they’re 12.
There’s no age requirement for dental sealants, but dentists are more likely to recommend them for young children. They are fond of eating candy and can be negligent about oral hygiene. The combination makes them more vulnerable to tooth decay.
Protect your family from tooth decay and other oral problems it causes. Schedule an appointment with Midjersey Smiles.