As a parent, you work hard to protect your child’s future health. Just as you take your kids to receive their yearly immunizations, you should also be sure that they receive important preventative dental care. Sealants and fluoride treatments can significantly reduce your child’s risk for future decay and dental damage. Although these treatments are typically an important part of pediatric dentistry, they will help to protect their permanent adult teeth for years to come.
The top surfaces of molars are covered in deep grooves, where food and bacteria often accumulate. Even with routine dental care, it can be difficult to thoroughly remove all contaminates from these surfaces. Eventually, this buildup can lead to decay and cavities. When the first adult molars begin to come in, Dr. Vlachakis will apply a thin plastic coating to the top surfaces, creating a barrier that prevents bacteria from affecting the tooth.
How Are Sealants Placed?
Before applying the tooth sealant, Dr. Vlachakis or our outstanding hygienist thoroughly cleans and dries the child’s tooth. Then she applies an acid solution to the surface, which creates microscopic fissures and makes a stronger bonding surface for the sealant. After painting on the thin plastic coating, she uses a curing light to harden the material. As soon as it has dried, it forms a virtually impenetrable coating that can last ten years or more. Sealants are clear, white, or tooth-colored, so they do not affect the appearance of child’s smile.
What Is Fluoride?
Fluoride is naturally found in many foods, and most cities have added fluoride to their water supplies. This element serves an important function in dental health; it helps to strengthen enamel, and it prevents the loss of minerals. Demineralization occurs when plaque and bacteria form acids, which eat away at a tooth’s structure.
The Importance of Fluoride Treatments
Although fluoride is naturally occurring, most children do not get enough to sufficiently protect their adult teeth. When children are exposed to the element before age 6, their developing teeth actually incorporate the element into their biochemical structure, making them much more resilient to decay and demineralization. While very young children greatly benefit from fluoride exposure, the element is extremely important for young patients up to age 16; fluoride can help to remineralize adult teeth, as well. To help protect teeth from decay, Dr. Vlachakis will apply a fluoride gel or varnish, which has a higher concentration of the element than store-bought mouthwashes or toothpastes. Fluoride treatments are extremely safe and can be repeated every six months.
Ask Dr. Vlachakis About Sealants and Fluoride
Give your child an advantage in the fight against cavities with dental sealants and/or fluoride treatment. To learn more, schedule a visit with Dr. Vlachakis by calling Healthy Smiles Family Dentistry today at (281) 974-4494. Located in Memorial City Plaza, we proudly serve the residents of Houston, Memorial City, Bunker Hill, West Beltway, City Center, Hedwig Village, and all surrounding communities.