If your dentist has recently mentioned dental sealants, or if you’ve read about them online and you’re not sure what they are, don’t worry. You’re not alone. While dental sealants are becoming more and more popular, many people don’t know exactly what they are or how they work.
What are Dental Sealants?
Dental sealants are a form of preventative care. Your dentist may recommend these to help prevent any future cavities or tooth decay, especially if you are at high risk for developing these due to an illness or vitamin deficiency. Dental sealants are thin plastic caps or coatings, similar to a crown, that go over your teeth to protect the enamel. These sit on top of your teeth and do not require any additional work such as drilling.
Why Should You Consider Getting Dental Sealants?
No matter how well you brush, floss, and rinse your mouth, there will always be some food particles leftover – either stuck in between your teeth or in the grooves of your molars. Over time, these can build up and attract bacteria to your mouth while slowly decaying your teeth. Dental sealants will help prevent this from happening by covering the enamel of your tooth, preventing both food and bacteria from getting into the grooves and weakening your teeth.
Dental sealants are also a good idea if you have any health condition or vitamin deficiency that results in weakened enamel. While a sealant won’t protect your teeth from your body, it will protect your teeth from any bacteria that try to take advantage of your weakened enamel. This will save you time and money in the long run as you won’t have to pay for more expensive repairs such as fillings, crowns, and even extractions. It can also keep you from pain — so long as your teeth are protected and don’t have cavities, your chances for an infection or your tooth breaking are greatly reduced.
What is the Process for Getting Dental Sealants?
Placing dental sealants is actually a fairly simple, painless process, which is another reason that they are so popular.
First, your dentist will most likely want to perform a cleaning. It is important to make sure that your teeth are as clean as possible so that no bacteria are trapped. If bacteria are trapped, then you will be unable to reach them while brushing, and this can greatly harm the condition and health of your teeth.
Your dentist will then dry your teeth and line them with cotton swabs, so they remain dry throughout the procedure. If you have ever had a filling placed, then it is similar to that process. The teeth are then prepped for the sealant and recleaned and dried. Finally, the sealant is applied and left to dry.
This process is quick and simple, and so long as no complications occur such as your teeth needing to be dried again, it will only take a few minutes for all of your teeth to be sealed and completed.
Is There Any Aftercare for Dental Sealants?
One of the best things about dental sealants is that they do not require special treatment or care after they are placed on your teeth. In order to keep them in good condition, and therefore your teeth in good health, it is important to practice proper dental hygiene. This includes brushing, flossing, and using mouthwash twice a day. Chewing sugar-free gum is also advised. You also need to continue seeing your dentist at least once every six months. This is not just for your biannual cleaning, but also so that your dentist can check your dental sealants for any flaws or imperfections. A crack in the sealant can allow bacteria to reach the inside and damage your teeth, and your brush won’t be able to reach in that crack. A cracked or flawed dental sealant will need to be repaired or replaced immediately. Other than this, however, there are no major lifestyle changes that you will need to make.
How Long Do Dental Sealants Last?
How long your dental sealants last depends on how well you take care of them. Of course, as you read above, the aftercare is fairly simple and doesn’t require anything other than proper dental hygiene and regular dentist visits. So long as you follow your dentist’s instructions, your dental sealants should last for around ten years. However, if they become chipped or cracked, it does not mean that you will have to go through the entire process again. Your dentist will be able to reapply the sealant to a single tooth whenever problems or flaws arise.
If you are interested in learning more about dental sealants or scheduling an appointment to have some placed over your teeth, contact our practice today or give us a call at (614) 333-9442.
Most summer plans revolve around traveling, water fun, and family bonding. Oftentimes we don’t take advantage of the summer days to take care of important business. We allow ourselves to get wrapped up in the summer nostalgia, neglecting responsibilities that could quickly be addressed during the summer break, such as dental checkups.
Today we are going to discuss the benefits of utilizing the summertime for dental checkups. We will also discuss some summer tips to keep your kids’ teeth as healthy as possible while enjoying the summer break.
Why should I schedule dental checkups for my children during the summer?
Although your family may be planning nonstop vacation fun, the summertime provides a more flexible window to schedule a dental appointment. You would not have to worry about planning around your child(ren)’s school schedule or their after school activities, possibly hindering the scheduling of the dental checkup.
More recovery time
Recovery time runs parallel with convenience. The summertime window provides more recovery time should your child need to have dental work, such as a root canal or wisdom tooth extraction. This way, they do not have to worry about missing any school days while they recover from the procedure.
Beat the Sugar Bugs
Children, as well as adults, tend to consume sugary foods and drinks during the summertime. The increase in sugary food can damage your kids’ oral health. Getting him/her into the dentist’s office early in the summer can help with preventative measures, so everyone can stay on track and be prepared for the upcoming school year.
My children will be visiting their grandparents out of state– how do I determine the best time for my children’s dental checkups?
It is common for children to visit grandparents or even attend summer camps and enjoy weeks of adventure and fun during the summertime. Ideally, we would suggest setting up an appointment before your child leaves for their summer adventure. It is beneficial to have the appointment before they leave for the summer, just in case the dentist discovers any cavities or any dental issues at all. This will allow time for any dental issues to be addressed before your child is away from home.
If you are unable to have your child seen by a dentist before they leave for the summer, don’t omit the appointment altogether. At least have a dental appointment set up when they return home, before starting school.
Are there are particular tips to help me successfully schedule and attend my child’s back-to-school dental appointment?
The number one way you will adequately execute this task is by planning ahead. If you wait and try to schedule a dental appointment around your child’s summer activities or any family plans you may have, you will likely find it impossible for your dentist to see your child at a time that works best with your schedule.
Although summertime is the best known time for relaxation, it is still best that you remain as organized as possible. Being organized will ensure you don’t double book your appointments, leading to cancellations.
Research suggests that when appointments are canceled last minute or because of ‘no shows,’ they often aren’t rescheduled for months.
Are there any additional tips to help keep my kids’ teeth healthy during the summer?
Family Oral Hygiene
It would be best to practice oral hygiene, such as brushing and flossing, as a family. Doing this as a family will help keep your kids more involved. Since they see you, the parent, taking care of your teeth, they are more likely to participate without question.
You can also try some fun brushing games and activities, such as taking silly pictures or a brushing calendar; doing so will help keep your children interested in daily brushing and flossing.
They may even start reminding you to brush, because they are looking forward to the family fun.
Buy New Supplies
It is common for most people to use their toothbrushes for months on end. It is recommended to replace your toothbrush every three months, so the summertime would be a perfect time to update your dental supplies if you haven’t already.
It is also an excellent way to get the kids involved. You could let them choose their own toothbrush and toothpaste or maybe help pick family dental supplies.
Your kids can enjoy the summer fun without overindulging in sugary sweets. Be sure to reinforce healthy snacks during the summer activities to avoid cavities down the road.
If you are ready to book your appointment or if you have any questions, give us a call at 614-333-9442. Here at Lifetime Dental, we value your time and will work to get you and your family seen by one of our dental professionals ASAP.
Summer is time for frolicking in the sun, a little less work (hopefully), and more time spent with family whenever possible. There are trips to the beach, lazily lounging poolside, and soaking up the sun…carefully, of course. But what about going to the dentist? Everyone does that, right? While a visit to the dentist is not usually on the summer “bucket list,” it ought to be, and here’s why.
My Oral Health Can Wait ‘Til Fall… Can’t I Take The Summer Off?
You may not feel like throwing in the beach towel and booking an appointment with the dentist, but summer gives you no excuse to get lazy about oral care. The entire family needs to fit in the time to be seen for a general check-up, as much as you would rather pack up for a family picnic or a trip to the park. Oral health maintenance is a year-round matter, and taking the summer season off could only make things worse come fall, and for the future. Even if no one in the family is feeling tooth pain or having other oral issues, being proactive means that regular dental visits should not be skipped come summer. After all, your teeth do not know what season it is, so treat them well 365 days per year.
The Kids Are Going Away For The Season To Summer Camp. Should We See The Dentist Before They’re Off?
By all means, bring the kids in for a check-up before they go away to camp. Once they are off for the summer, they may not have access to decent dental care until they are back home. This means a cavity, crack, or other issues will remain unchecked, potentially worsen, and cause the child pain or discomfort. Even if there is a dentist available at their camp or close by, kids may not mention they are having issues because they do not want to miss out on the camp fun with the other kids. As you plan for their summer camp departure, be sure to put “Make an appointment with Lifetime Dental Health” on your to-do list. If they have already left for camp, remind your kids to brush and floss regularly (as always), and if they notice a problem, to alert their camp counselor right away. Once the kids return home, be sure to book a visit with us as soon as possible so we can prevent additional issues from arising and repair anything necessary. And remember, along with your care packages, include a brand new toothbrush, a tube of toothpaste, and some dental floss. A little nudge will remind the kids to take care of their teeth while at camp.
My Whole Family Loves Summer Snacking. The Treats Are Too Good To Pass Up. Are There Foods To Avoid Altogether?
“Everything in moderation” is always a good goal to keep in mind when it comes to snacking, but there are some foods specific to summer that are not the best for your teeth. Those ooey gooey campfire roasted marshmallows can stick to the surface of the teeth, so brush them as soon as you can after enjoying those sweet s’mores. The same goes for the tasty treats you will get off the ice cream truck. Sugary frosty cold drinks sure hit the spot when the sun is blazing and you’re drenched in sweat, but they will also wreak havoc on your teeth if you do not practice good oral hygiene after slurping them up. Enjoy your favorite summertime foods, but be sure to care for your teeth with the same level of enthusiasm. It doesn’t take long to make a difference.
Summer is not a time to slack off in terms of dental health; it is just too important to neglect, no matter the season. The whole family can focus on summer fun, but bring the topic of oral care to the table too. The kids will follow in their parents’ footsteps, so be a good role model and book your dental appointment this summer at Lifetime Dental Health. We are a family-friendly practice with patients of all ages. Your family will be in the best of hands at Lifetime Dental Health and Drs. Barry and Love can’t wait to see you, so kick off your summer with a smile that is as healthy as can be.
Book an appointment for a check-up for yourself and the rest of your family as soon as possible by calling 614-333-9106. Our front desk staff will find you a slot ASAP, we’ll fit you in, then you can get back to your summer adventures. ‘Til then, take care of your teeth at home – summertime and anytime — by brushing, flossing, rinsing, and eating right. It is up to you to stay healthy, and we’re your proactive and preventative partner in making a positive impact on your family.
When you’re thinking of making out your New Year’s resolutions this January, consider adding improved oral hygiene to your list. Brushing and flossing daily is a great way to prevent cavities and gum disease, as well as maintaining an appealing smile. Making a habit of good oral hygiene will save you time, money and discomfort!
Flossing keeps your gums healthy and invigorated while removing food particles and plaque from between teeth and beneath the top of the gumline. Toothbrushes just can’t reach between teeth as effectively as good quality dental floss can. Flossing is essential to the prevention of plaque buildup. Plaque is a sticky film of decaying particles of food and bacteria that eat those particles. In doing so, they release toxins that attack the gums. Plaque must be brushed and flossed away, or it will turn into tartar. Tartar is also filled with bacteria that produce toxins that irritate and damage the gums. Daily flossing removes plaque as well as stimulating blood circulation in the gum tissues. Oral irrigators, sometimes called water picks, aren’t as helpful as dental floss, but they can remove food particles from between teeth. Plaque is very sticky and needs floss to remove it. Once plaque hardens into tartar, it takes a dentist to remove it.
If your gums bleed during flossing, you may have gingivitis. Gingivitis is the first phase of periodontal disease, but take heart. Gingivitis is reversible. Two weeks of daily gentle flossing and brushing should return your gums to health.
The signs of periodontal disease include receding, swollen and bleeding gums. Pay attention to the appearance of your gums as you floss and you’ll be able to get ahead of any problems.
Use a high-quality toothbrush
Always use a soft-bristled brush, whether you’re using a manual or electric toothbrush. Your goal is to brush away plaque and food debris, not scrub it off. Scrubbing with a stiff-bristled brush abrades gum tissue and puts unnecessary wear and tear on your enamel. Aggressive brushing can cause gum tissue to recede or even become infected.
High-quality electric toothbrushes tend to be more effective at removing plaque than manual brushes. The result is healthier teeth and gums. Most electric toothbrushes have interchangeable heads and offer separate modes for regular brushing, brushing sensitive teeth, etc.
Get a professional cleaning twice a year
As with all issues surrounding healthcare, prevention is worth its weight in gold. Twice yearly visits to your dental hygienist helps keep your smile appealing and healthy. Regular cleanings remove tartar, which can build up in hard-to-reach places even with conscientious flossing. Sometimes tartar can build up along the roots of your teeth, which requires a procedure called scaling and planing. Scaling removes tartar beneath the gum line, while root planing helps smooth the tooth roots to make them less vulnerable to plaque and tartar accumulation.
Smoking damages gums and other oral tissues. Smoking causes the gums to thin and pull away from teeth while causing pockets to develop between the gums and teeth. Plaque and tartar accumulate easily in those pockets and cause tooth loss. Smoking tends to dry up saliva, which deprives the mouth of natural protection from bacteria.
Consider limiting staining beverages
Beverages that are darkly pigmented like red wine, tea and coffee stain teeth. Enamel is filled with microscopic tubules that trap staining material easily. Daily brushing will remove surface stains, but the stains trapped in the enamel’s tubules must be removed by your dentist. However, there are many over-the-counter whitening products that work, albeit much more slowly and less effectively than professional whitening.
You can find whitening toothpastes, gel pens, whitening strips and more that offer up different benefits. These products work best when you use them consistently. Make sure that any whitening toothpaste you use has fluoride. If it doesn’t, you will need to brush with a separate fluoride paste.
Drink plenty of water every day and limit sugary drinks
The best drink for your teeth (and the rest of you) is water. It irritates your oral tissues, helps dislodge food particles, and washes at least some bacteria away. Tap water is superior to bottled water for your teeth because it has fluoride. Bottled water may or may not have any fluoride, and while we can’t argue its purity, teeth need fluoridated water.
Drink as few sugary beverages as possible, and that includes sports drinks and diet sodas. If you drink something like a soda, it’s vital for the health of your teeth that you rinse your mouth out vigorously with water, then brush as soon as you can. People rarely do that, and the sugar from a soda or sports drink lies on teeth, giving bacteria a ready-to-devour food source. Diet soda isn’t a big improvement. Sodas that contain phosphoric acid break down the structure of enamel on a microscopic level, giving cavity-causing bacteria places to thrive.
Brush your teeth twice daily
It’s an absolute must to brush your teeth daily. Brush 30 minutes after meals and before bedtime. Don’t forget to gently brush your tongue.
Most New Year’s Resolutions don’t make it past the end of January but make this year your best year ever for great oral hygiene. Your teeth and mouth will thank you!
If you want to jumpstart this year’s dental health with a checkup, call us to set up an appointment!
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