Hi. This is Doctor Robert Antolak from TheGentleDentist.com in Shelby Township, Michigan. Our office phone number is 586-247-3500. Today I would like to discuss a simple process that is amazing in how it helps children prevent cavities. If a child gets a cavity they usually will form on the first molar teeth. This is assuming the child has good nutrition.
So, let’s talk about the first molar teeth. This is the lower jaw here. The first molars are the first ones we see as we look back. Okay? And since the first molars that come in are when the child is around six years old they’re in more of the cavity-prone ages.
This is a cavity-prone age if kids are eating a lot of refined carbohydrates and sugars. For example, these sugars may come from Fruit Roll-Ups, juices, pop, candy and things like that. As these foods sit down in the deep grooves of the teeth, they can start to cause cavities.
This is what a cross section of a tooth would look like right here. This would show absolutely what like a molar tooth would look like. This part here is the enamel part of the tooth. That’s the white part of the tooth that we can see right here.
Then as food particles start sitting down in the deep grooves of the teeth, like in this region here, cavities start forming. This is because sometimes the area is so thin and narrow that not even the width of a toothbrush bristle will fit down there. But bacteria sneak down into these deeper areas and start forming cavities.
So a cavity will form in here and then what happens is it gets down to what’s called the dentin. This is the dentin layer. Inside of the dentin we have what’s call a pulp, which is where the nerve is contained within the tooth.
So when cavities form in the enamel layer ( the hard part) it forms like this. Then it starts to form like this as the cavities start getting bigger and bigger and bigger. So then it can get into the nerve of the tooth like this, and then you have problems such as the need for root canals and things like that.
So rather than waiting until it’s too late, we can do what are called dental sealants. A dental sealant is where we apply a material to the tooth. The material will fill in this space right in here.
So instead of having the deep groove, you have a sealant that will cover that deep root. If the dental sealant is well bonded in place, when you brush your teeth it will be very cleansable.
How do we Apply Dental sealants?
We prepare the tooth structure itself. We use an acid etch that makes the tooth kind of porous. Then we put a bonding agent in it that helps to secure it to the tooth. Then we flow the material into the deep grooves like this.
Next, we use a light that will harden the material. It only takes about five or ten seconds to harden the material. This thin composite material, which is called composite, blends in with the teeth and it also blunt bonds right on to the tooth structure. So now, rather than brushing a tooth with grooves in it, the tooth is nice and smooth. It’s a great way of taking care of cavities.
The key of this is making sure that the tooth is very clean, when it’s first bonded. What can happen is, plaque can develop in this area and bacteria can prevent a good strong and secure bond. What we do in our office is, we make sure that that the deep surface is very clean so it can be to assure that your children can have teeth that will last them a lifetime. By doing this procedure, at least the biting surfaces during those cavity prone years will be effectively sealed and prevent children from having any further problems.
As far as dental sealants go, sometimes we even go up to the bicuspid teeth. So there are a total of possibly 16 teeth that could be bonded in place. Once again, it’s very conservative.
There’s no numbing necessary. Dental sealants are done before any cavities form and it’s insuring the fact that these teeth can last a lifetime.
Contact Shelby Township Dentist, Dr Antolak About Dental Sealants
So if there’s any interest in dental sealants, which there should be, contact our Shelby Twp Dental Office at (586)-247- 3500. Happy smiling.