Say goodbye to cavitiesAug 2nd, 2009 | By editor | Category: Health, Specials
DR MARLYIN GEORGE
Oral health plays a critical role in the growth and development of a child. Ironically the single most common chronic disease of childhood is dental caries, which is both preventable and reversible. This also affects the adult population and is equal ly preventable there too.
In that case why are we not preventing dental caries/cavities from occurring? To understand how it works we need to take a look at the options available. Pit and fissure sealants offer one such solution.
What are sealants?
Pit and fissure sealants are high viscosity plastic materials applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth. They flow into the pits and fissures and help seal the chewing surfaces and prevent any food or other sticky items from entering the deep grooves/indentations and thus prevent dental caries.
Why use sealants?
Among the options available, sealants play a significant role as they are very effective on the chewing surfaces (occlusal surfaces) where other means of prevention are not so fruitful. There is no better way to prevent the morbid dental caries at least when it comes to teeth that are freshly erupted, have deep pits and fissures or are in a mouth otherwise prone to dental caries.
How do sealants work?
First, look at the occlusal surface of a freshly erupted permanent molar where the pits and fissures compromise the tooth and make it highly prone to dental caries since the bristles of a toothbrush cannot reach inside these deep grooves. Many such teeth are lost to caries when all it takes is timely prevention in the shape of sealants.
Who can apply pit and fissure sealants?
Sealants are professionally applied by dentists. The procedure is painless and takes only a few minutes a tooth
Who needs them?
Any tooth that has deep grooves on its chewing surface needs to be sealed. So children and teenagers are an obvious choice. However adults too can benefit from sealants as one never outgrows the risk of developing cavities and it is never too late to prevent!
How long do they last?
Pit and fissure sealants are known to last for years but periodic check ups are required to ensure that they are in place. In case there is a need for reapplication it can be easily done.
Though we know that prevention is better than cure, enough stress is not being laid upon preventive procedures. Imagine the quantum of revenue loss due to the money spent (not to mention the loss of productive man hours) on treating a preventable disease like dental caries! Sealants offer us a very cost effective mean of preventing cavities.