Cavities are a risk for every child. Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, called cavities “one of the most common chronic conditions among kids in this country.” According to a study published in the US National Library of Medicine, children with cavities were more likely to experience dental pain, miss school, and perform poorly in school. These findings suggest that good oral health may enhance a child’s educational experience.
Frightfully inconsistent brushers, kids often neglect hard-to-reach places in the back of the mouth, where the chewing surfaces on the teeth are loaded with anatomic pits, and fissures that can harbor cavity-causing bacteria. To help prevent cavities in these “inaccessible” areas, pediatric dentists can apply sealants as permanent physical barriers over these grooves and pits. Sealants are recommended for teeth that are at high-risk of dental decay. This includes youngsters with:
- A history of cavities
- Deep retentive pits and fissures
- Early signs of decay
- Poor plaque control
- Enamel hypoplasia or other enamel defects
- Orthodontic appliances
The treatment process of applying a sealant is quick and painless. First, the tooth surface is cleaned and dried. A conditioner is then applied, which helps the sealant stick to the tooth. After a few seconds, the conditioner is rinsed away with water. The tooth surface is dried once more and the sealant is placed. A curing light is used to harden the sealant.
For added effectiveness, more and more pediatric dentists are incorporating lasers into the sealant process. Lasers are known for their antibacterial properties and are capable of killing cavity-causing germs located deep within a tooth’s grooves, pits, and fissures. Tiny beams of light travel deep down into the crevasses and aid in sealant success. According to another study in PubMed, enamel laser conditioning before sealant application revealed a reduction in fractures, which means longer-lasting sealants.
Dental lasers are safe and effective for treating both children and adults. BIOLASE pediatric lasers are tailored to meet the needs of teens, tots and toddlers with the widest variety of tips and accessories that ensure versatility and success.