Dear Dr. Ellie,
My son (now 4) had an appointment today with a dentist for a cleaning and afterward (his teeth are of course perfectly clean and cavity-free) they told me we should schedule an appointment for sealants to which I said “no”.
The dentist looked very confused and I said that I would maybe consider it if they could tell me what was in the sealants and if there was no bisphenol-A. The guy was still confused and went to the back to find out. No one knew what was in the sealants (this is a practice with 5 dentists and numerous hygienists) – so they found me a package insert on the UltraSeal XT plus, sealant. It did not contain info on what all is in the product but it does say “Bis-GMA” is an active ingredient. I am assuming this is the bisphenol A…
Anyway just thought you would like to know that I am listening to everything you say! And hopefully making all the right decisions for my son’s dental health. Thanks for arming me with the right questions!
This story of your son’s visit and the treatment for perfect teeth happens every day in dental offices everywhere.
I believe that parents should have information about sealants before they are routinely applied.
What kind of extra protection would sealants bring your son? You son has not a vestige of tooth decay. He probably does not have a strep mutans bacteria on his teeth! In fact, he probably has healthy bacteria in the crevices of his molar teeth.
Did anyone assess the healthy crevices or consider that they may supply protective bacteria for his mouth?
If your son has been eating xylitol for over a year the research says it is equal in protection to any given by a sealant. This is because it changes the flora of the mouth and suppresses the numbers of harmful bacteria.
I wish that it COST dentists to apply sealants. I guarantee you that only half the sealants would be applied. Sealants have a place, but they do not stop dental disease. Sealants can become a problem if not maintained (see my discussion on sealants at www.Zellies.com). It pains me that sealants are routinely suggested for almost every child over the age of six, without full knowledge of these facts.
Most parents are surprised, five years later, when the child is a young teen, to find that there is tooth decay and cavities on the sides of these same teeth (the sides are never protected by a sealant).Parents do not understand this and most believe that teeth are totally protected from decay by a sealant. This does not happen.
Sealants block the first place on the tooth that decays. The second place is on the sides of the teeth, where one tooth touches another tooth called a contact area. The permanent teeth do not touch each other until all the baby teeth are lost and new permanent teeth erupt and touch each other.
Unless disease bacteria have been eliminated, plaque or disease bacteria will build up and destroy these “interproximal” contact areas. Usually the teen is blamed for poor flossing. It is really a problem of a disease that has never been stopped.
Good detective work Meg on the Bisphemol A.
Just remember that this office may not like you much any more! Sorry.
Ellie Phillips DDS
UltraSeal XT labels say that it does not contain BPA. However, the Bis-GMA is made up of several ingredients, one of which is BPA. So legally they are 'correct' to say it is BPA Free. But as time goes on and the sealants begin to wear down BPA will be let loose into your child's mouth as the Bis-GMA breaks down.
Yes. – it's a great posting!I would also add from the studies I am aware of, the sealants "without" BPA have less durability – since BPA is in kind of "glue" that holds them together.The best advice is to AVOID sealants and fillings if at all possible.Patients could – instead – start asking for salivary testing.Strep mutans testing is an option to figure out if you need a sealant.Then go on a 6 month campaign ( involving all your family) to wipe out the disease and remineralize your teeth – before making any sealant decision.