As your child visits the dentist and begins to get his or her adult teeth, you will hear about dental sealants. Dental sealants are a quick, easy, and relatively cheap solution for preventing cavities, and we recommend them for most people.
Sealants are a plastic material that is placed in the groovy pits and fissures of the chewing surfaces of your teeth, particularly the permanent molars at the back because toothbrushes may not reach all the way into the grooves to clean thoroughly. Although the idea of sealants is not new, they’re quickly becoming the go-to treatment for kids who are at high risk for dental decay.
Why do kids need a dental sealant?
Kids are notoriously bad brushers and tend to ignore brushing in the problem areas in the back of the mouth that lead to cavities and decay. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends that children receive dental sealants as soon as their permanent molars erupt when the teeth are at the highest risk for cavities. Plus, the sealant will last many years, well into adulthood.
Some people ask about fluoride treatments and whether they are just as effective. The answer is no; nothing is as strong as a sealant for preventing cavities — aside from good oral hygiene practices.
Are dental sealants safe and effective?
Dental sealants have been tested and proven to reduce the risk of cavities in the teeth that are covered. Children and adolescents with dental sealants are 80 percent less likely to get a cavity than those who don’t. Dental sealant is safe for children of all ages. The sealant material that hygienists use are non harmful, BPA free, and FDA approved.
The application process is simple and usually takes five or 10 minutes. The teeth to be sealed are thoroughly cleaned and dried. Then, the chewing surfaces are roughened with an etching solution that helps the sealants adhere to the teeth. Next, the sealant is “painted” onto the tooth and a special curing light bonds and hardens it. No special care is required, but of course, we recommend your child continue oral hygiene care with brushing and flossing. Although sealants last for several years, we will check it regularly and touch up as necessary.
Many insurance companies pay for all or part of the sealant process. Schedule an appointment with us today to learn more and protect your child’s teeth for years to come.