A sealant is a plastic material applied to the back teeth. This plastic resin bonds to the depressions and grooves (pits and fissures) of the chewing surfaces of back teeth, where most cavities in children are found. Toothbrush bristles cannot reach all the way into the depressions and grooves to remove the food and plaque that accumulates. This places your child in danger of tooth decay. Sealants “seal out” food and plaque, thus reducing the risk of decay.
Sealants are very easy to apply and require no anesthesia. It takes one dental visit. The tooth is first cleaned and conditioned. The sealant is then flowed into the grooves of the teeth and hardened with a special light. Your child will be able to eat right after the appointment.
As long as the sealant remains intact, the tooth surface will be protected from decay. Sealants hold up well under the force of normal chewing and usually last several years before a reapplication is needed. During your regular cleaning, your dentist and/or hygienist will check the condition of the sealants and reapply them as necessary.
The likelihood of developing decay begins early in life, so children and teenagers are obvious candidates. But adults benefit from sealants, as well.
A regular dental cleaning is recommended for patients without dense deposits or buildup on their teeth. It is for the patient who has little or no buildup around the gumline. It usually includes a comprehensive exam and requires one hour. It may or may not include dental xrays. Routine cleanings are extremely important in preventing dental problems and in diagnosing dental problems. These patients are then placed on a scheduled recall visit for future cleanings, which is usually every 6 months (twice a year).
A debridement is a procedure used to remove dense, heavy deposits on the teeth. It is required when tooth structures are so covered with plaque(soft bacteria) and calculus(hard bacteria) that the dentist or hygienist cannot check for decay, infectious or periodontal disease (gum disease). It is for the patient who has moderate or heavy buildup under and above the gumline. It generally requires 2 to 5 separate dental appointments. A debridement is usually required if it has been a long time since a patient’s last cleaning. These deposits form over a long period of time and therefore require more time to remove. The amount of time needed for appointments varies according to difficulty. Further procedures to treat periodontal disease or other problems may also be needed. If the debridement is not done, the patient is at risk of losing their teeth from periodontal disease(gum disease). After the debridement and completed treatment, the patient will be placed on a scheduled recall appointment. These appointments are either 3 or 4 or 6 months apart, according to the patient’s needs.
In our office we use digital radiography which allows us to take X-rays using 50-70% less radiation versus conventional X-rays. Coupled with computer monitoring, digital x-ray technology allows us to enhance the images for better diagnosis of any dental concerns.
Martinez, GA 30907