In modern dentistry, increasing importance is attributed to prevention and maintaining the integrity of the tooth structure before carious lesions appear. One of the effective tools used for this purpose is tooth sealing, a procedure in which a special material is applied to the grooves and fissures of the occlusal surfaces of children’s permanent teeth.
The purpose of sealing is to prevent the development of tooth decay in these difficult-to-clean areas and to ensure optimal oral hygiene. In this article, we will explore the importance of tooth sealing in children, the conditions required to perform this procedure and the long-term benefits.
While in the past the dentist’s objectives were to treat the carious lesions detected in the oral cavity as well as possible, today, this principle is complemented by the desire to prevent caries and maintain the integrity of the dental structure.
Factors contributing to dental caries
There are several factors that contribute to the development and maintenance of dental caries in children. A high-sugar diet is one of the most important factors because sugar is a food that promotes the growth of acid-producing bacteria and thus leads to demineralization of tooth enamel. Reducing sugar intake and proper oral hygiene, including brushing teeth after eating sugar, are effective ways to prevent tooth decay.
High sugar diet – sugar is the enemy of oral health. It is virtually impossible to eliminate sugar from the diet, especially as it can also be found in hidden form in bakery products.
Instead, you can try to reduce your intake of foods high in sugars and, very importantly, brush your teeth after eating sugar to reduce plaque deposits.
Oral hygiene – brushing at least twice a day in circular motions on the occlusal surfaces and from the gum to the tooth helps to remove deposits that are a source of growth for oral pathogens.
Also, adjuvants such as flossing, mouthwash and mouthwash help to complete the oral hygiene protocol.
Dental check-ups – 6-monthly check-ups are recommended for those who do not fall into a risk group and every 3 months for patients with increased carioreceptivity.
Fluoride – can be found in toothpastes, topical solutions, drinking water or in the form of oral, systemic tablets.
This element is used to delay the development of caries. However, it is also worth remembering that exceeding the recommended doses of fluoride can lead to intoxication, known as fluorosis.
This is manifested in the teeth by the appearance of white, unsightly stains which turn brown with continued fluoride intake.
In addition to these conditions that help to delay or even prevent caries, sealing the occlusal surfaces plays an important role.
Many years of research have shown that carious lesions develop mainly in the grooves and fissures of premolars and molars.
Due to the steep relief of these occlusal surfaces and the smaller amount of enamel compared to that on flat surfaces, carious lesions can develop unhindered.
Immediately after the eruption of permanent teeth, they present a marked, well-expressed relief which favors the appearance of early carious lesions.
In order to stop the bacterial attack at this level and to limit the conditions for caries to spread, by sealing the teeth, the dentist applies a fluid to the grooves on the occlusal surfaces to level the relief.
There are, however, some conditions for applying sealing materials, as follows:
The tooth must be caries-free, i.e. no carious lesions have developed on its surface in the past.
The sealing material must be applied no later than 2 years after the full eruption of the tooth at the dental arches, this condition indicates sealing as a viable therapeutic solution only for children.
In order to benefit from the caries-protective effect of sealants, children should maintain good oral hygiene.
Importance of tooth sealing
The occlusal surfaces of premolars and molars are areas prone to dental caries due to their steep relief and low enamel quantity. These surfaces are difficult to clean even with rigorous oral hygiene. By sealing the teeth, the dentist applies a special fluid into the grooves and fissures of the occlusal surfaces to level the relief and create a protective barrier against the bacteria and acids that cause caries.
Conditions for applying tooth sealants to children
In order to benefit from the caries-protective effect of tooth sealants, certain conditions must be met. The tooth must be caries-free, which means that it must not have existing carious lesions.
Sealing must also be carried out no later than 2 years after the tooth has fully erupted into the dental arch. This condition is specific to children, as sealing is a viable therapeutic solution in preventing caries in this age group. It is important that children maintain good oral hygiene to fully benefit from the caries-protective effect of sealants.
Benefits of tooth sealing in children
Sealing children’s teeth offers many long-term benefits. Here are some of them:
Preventing tooth decay: Sealing occlusal surfaces helps prevent cavities from developing in those hard-to-clean areas. The sealing material creates a physical barrier that prevents bacteria and acids from entering the grooves and pits, thereby reducing the risk of cavities forming.
Improved oral hygiene: Because sealed surfaces become smooth and easier to clean, tooth sealing makes it easier to maintain optimal oral hygiene. Brushing and flossing become more effective and the risk of plaque build-up and cavities decreases significantly.
Saves time and money: Sealing your teeth can reduce the need for subsequent dental interventions such as fillings or endodontic treatments. By preventing cavities, the pain and discomfort associated with extensive dental treatments is avoided, and the costs associated with these treatments can be decreased.
Protecting permanent teeth: Children’s permanent teeth are essential for the proper development of speech, chewing and oral aesthetics. Tooth sealing helps protect these teeth in their early stages and reduces the risk of enamel damage and the formation of carious lesions.
Tooth sealing in children is an effective and non-invasive method of preventing tooth decay.
This procedure helps to create a protective barrier against bacteria and acids in hard-to-clean areas of the teeth, providing long-term protection.
By applying sealants at the right time and maintaining proper oral hygiene, children can benefit from improved oral health and avoid costly dental procedures. Sealing teeth is an investment in children’s dental health and their oral future.