While brushing and flossing are the best ways to prevent cavities, it’s not always easy to clean every tiny crevice in your mouth—especially for young children. Back teeth (molars) are usually the most difficult to clean, becoming a favorite hiding place for cavity-causing bacteria.
Would you be willing to add an additional layer of protection to your child’s teeth? It is possible thanks to dental sealants, which literally seal out food particles and plaque in order to prevent cavities and tooth decay.
Find out what you never knew about dental sealants, including their many benefits and how they can affect your child’s long-term oral health.
Sealants: the statistics
The numbers speak for themselves. Children without dental sealants have almost three times more cavities than children with sealants, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Additionally, sealants are reported to reduce decay risk by nearly 80% in molars—those difficult-to-reach back teeth.
Dental sealants: what are they?
Dental sealants are thin plastic coatings applied to the chewing surfaces of your child’s teeth (usually premolars and molars) to prevent future tooth decay. Sealants bond into the grooves of teeth, forming a protective shield.
Bacteria in your child’s mouth produce acids when they come into contact with leftover food particles. Dental sealants prevent these food particles from causing tooth decay and other dental problems by shielding them from your child’s teeth.
Dental sealants are recommended for whom?
There are many benefits to dental sealants for both children and adults, but the earlier you receive them, the better. A child’s first molar is usually present at the age of six, while their second molar is usually present at the age of twelve. Your child will be able to stay cavity-free from the start if these teeth are sealed as soon as they come in, saving money and time in the long run.
For baby teeth with deep depressions and grooves, dental sealants may be appropriate. Despite falling out eventually, your child’s baby teeth are extremely important for maintaining correct spacing for their permanent teeth.
The application of dental sealants
The process of getting dental sealants is quick and painless. To strengthen the bond between the tooth and the sealant, your dentist will first clean and dry your child’s teeth, then apply a gel that roughens the teeth’s surface.
The dentist will place the sealant on the tooth after rinsing off the gel and drying the tooth again. Using a special blue light, the dentist hardens the sealant in about a minute.
There are many benefits to dental sealants.
The most common use of dental sealants is in children, though patients of any age can benefit from them:
- Preventing cavities with dental sealants is a proactive and affordable method.
- A dental sealant is easy to apply and dries within a minute or two.
- The tooth is immediately protected.
- Sealants are white or clear in color, so they are virtually invisible when speaking or smiling.
- A dental sealant often lasts several years before it needs to be reapplied due to normal chewing.
- A dental sealant can protect your child’s teeth from decay for up to ten years, but it is important to check them regularly for chipping or wear.
We strive to create a positive experience for both you and your child at our kids’ dental and orthodontic office. Our team will provide your child with the high-quality dental care he or she deserves. Let us show you what patient-centered care is all about! Contact us today to schedule an appointment.