A sealant is a clear or white coating that covers the deep pits and grooves on the chewing surface of teeth to keep out plaque and bacteria, thus decreasing the risk of decay. Our goal with sealants is to maintain cavity free teeth for a lifetime! Since the covering is only on the biting surface of the tooth, areas on the side and between teeth cannot be coated with a sealant. Good oral hygiene and nutrition are still very important in preventing decay next to these sealants or in areas unable to be covered.
As with all dental procedures, the longevity of sealants varies with each individual. The effectiveness of sealants is influenced by bite patterns, teeth grinding, ice or hard candy chewing and bacterial plaque levels. Your child should refrain from eating ice or hard candy as this tends to fracture the sealant. Sealants can also chip or wear out. The condition of the sealants will be checked at each checkup visit. Sealants can last up to four years. The sealants will be checked at checkup visits, and we will inform you if your child’s teeth ever need to be resealed.
The American Dental Association recognizes that sealants can play an important role in the prevention of tooth decay. When properly applied and maintained, sealants can protect the chewing surfaces of your child’s teeth. A total prevention program includes regular visits to the dentist, the use of fluoride, daily brushing and flossing, and limiting the number of times sugar rich foods are eaten. If these measures are followed and sealants are used on the child’s teeth, the risk of decay can be reduced or may even be eliminated!
If your child has had local anesthesia for their dental procedure:
If the procedure was in the lower jaw; the tongue, teeth, lip and surrounding tissue will be numb or asleep.
If the procedure was in the upper jaw; the teeth, lip and surrounding tissue will be numb or asleep.
Often children do not understand the effects of local anesthesia and may chew, scratch, suck or play with the numb lip, cheek or tongue. These actions can cause minor irritations or they can be severe enough to cause swelling and abrasions to the tissue. Please monitor your child closely for approximately two hours following the appointment. It is often wise to keep your child on a liquid diet until the anesthesia has worn off.
A filling or crown makes a change, however small, in the way teeth fit together. The tongue and cheeks will notice a change and adapt to the new addition. If a filling or crown feels “high” and does not allow the teeth to come together, it may adjust itself in a day or two. If it continues to feel high, it might need an adjustment at the office.
If a stainless steel crown or space maintainer is inserted, avoid sticky chewy foods for the life of the crown or space maintainer.
Thermal sensitivity is not uncommon if the decay or filling is deep or close to the nerve. If the tooth is responding and healing, sensitivity to hot or cold should only last for a short time. If there is discomfort after the procedure, Tylenol or Motrin can be given as recommended for your child’s age and weight on the label directions. If pain persists, please call us.
Following an extraction, your child will have a numb lip, cheek and/or tongue for up to two hours. Please monitor your child very closely, making sure he/she does not chew, scratch, suck or rub that side of his/her face until it is fully awake again. Also, keep fingers out of the extraction site. Some children are concerned about the numb feeling; if your child appears to be having a difficult time with the numb sensation remind him/her that feeling is normal and it will go away by itself.
Your child should continue biting on gauze with firm pressure for 30 minutes, changing gauze as needed. If your child is too young to do this, hold the gauze tightly against the extraction site with your finger for the same length of time. It is not uncommon to have a little bleeding after an extraction. Sometimes blood mixes with saliva and looks like a lot of blood. If heavy bleeding occurs, bite on a wet tea bag and apply pressure with gauze until bleeding stops. Repeat. If this does not help, call the office at 770-396-4300.
Keep your child’s diet soft for 24-48 hours. Avoid hard, crunchy, spicy or carbonated foods. Cool soft foods are best. Keep your child’s activity monitored for the rest of the day -no high impact, strenuous activity!
No spitting or using straws today! Tomorrow rinse mouth gently, using a solution of a teaspoon of salt to 8oz. of warm water. Make sure you follow good oral hygiene as this will promote faster healing.
For any discomfort, give Tylenol or Motrin as recommended for your child’s age and weight on the label directions. If it is necessary to take pain medication for more than 24 hours, please notify us, as this is unusual and we may need to see your child.
Children’s Dentistry That Makes You Smile