At Sprout Kids Dentistry, we want your child to have the healthiest smile possible. To ensure your child’s teeth stay healthy, sealants are sometimes needed. But what are dental sealants and are they necessary for your child? Let’s find out.
What Are Dental Sealants?
Dental sealants are thin, clear plastic coatings that are placed onto the chewing surface of your child’s premolars or molars to form a protective shield from food debris, bacteria, plaque, and acids. It’s essentially sealing the tooth to prevent cavities and tooth decay. They can also be placed over spots of early decay to prevent further damage.
According to the CDC, sealants prevent up to 80% of cavities in molars.
Why Are Premolars and Molars More Prone to Developing Tooth Decay?
The chewing surfaces of the molars and premolars have pits and fissures that food, plaque, and particles can sit in. This can provide cavity-causing bacteria a food source to grow. And as the bacteria feed and grow, they produce acids that can erode the tooth’s enamel and result in tooth decay and ultimately, cavities.
Are Sealants Right for Your Child?
Sealants can work for all children but especially ones who are prone to developing cavities. The age of six is usually when sealants are applied for the first time. This is when the first set of permanent molars are just starting to come in.
Protecting these early teeth from tooth decay and cavities reduces the chance of a child developing future cavities or other dental problems.
What Is the Sealant Procedure?
Applying sealants is a simple, safe, and painless procedure that can be completed in one visit to the dentist office. Your child won’t need anesthesia and there is no drilling involved.
The procedure begins by cleaning your child’s teeth and then drying them completely. From there, we prepare the chewing surface by roughing it up with an etching solution. This helps the sealant to bond to the tooth. Next, the sealant is painted on the pits and fissures of the molars. Finally, a special light hardens the sealant. It’s that simple.
How Long Do Dental Sealants Last?
Sealants typically last 5 to 10 years but your child’s dentist should evaluate the sealant for chips and wear every time they have an appointment. If needed, we can reapply the sealant so the tooth remains protected. But remember, sealants do not mean your child doesn’t need to brush and floss. Sealants are preventing further tooth decay. They are not meant as a replacement for proper dental hygiene.
Should Your Child Have Dental Sealants?
Whether your child should have dental sealants or not is a decision that should be made between your dentist and you. You’ll want to consider your child’s daily lifestyle, what they eat, and how prone to cavities they are. Your dentist can help you make the right decision for your child.
Schedule A Consultation
Looking to learn more about sealants for your child or think that they are right for the procedure? Schedule a consultation today by calling Sprout Kids Dentistry at our Quincy, MA office or schedule an appointment online. We can help your child feel safe and comfortable with the entire dental experience.