5 Solid Reasons to Consider Dental Sealants for Kids
Dental sealants can save your child’s smile from damaging tooth decay.
Your child’s dentist wishes they could simply wave a wand and cast a protective spell to stop cavities from ever happening. Although that isn’t possible, there is a very real protective treatment that can put a halt to tooth decay woes. This treatment is called dental sealants.
What are dental sealants?
Dental sealants are an optional preventive care service that targets tooth decay specifically. They essentially form a translucent covering over your child’s molars to prevent decay from forming on the teeth.
Sealants are exceptionally safe, are non-invasive, and best of all, their protection lasts for years.
Who are they for?
You may have not heard of dental sealants because they are specifically used for children rather than adults. Many new parents are surprised — and elated! — to learn that they even exist.
Candidates for dental sealants are children who have newly erupted adult molars. Although not as routine, sealants can also be placed on baby teeth.
How are dental sealants applied?
The application process of dental sealants is a breeze for kids who are accustomed to visiting the dentist and having oral examinations or even have experience sitting for a filling.
Your child’s dentist will apply a thin coat of either white or clear a liquid plastic-like material over the surfaces of your child’s molars. This material is actually a resin, and once exposed to a special LED light, will harden to form a durable layer of protection over your child’s teeth.
Usually, your child will have a deep cleaning prior to the placement of the dental sealants to ensure the teeth are clean and free from debris.
How do they help kids’ oral health.
So once these dental sealants are placed on your child’s back teeth, what exactly do they do?
Here are the five big reasons why pediatric dentists encourage parents to opt for sealants for their kids.
1. Dental sealants provide long-term cavity protection over 4+ years.
Dental sealants aren’t permanent, but properly applied sealants can last up to nine years before completely wearing away! The CDC has found that sealants prevent 80% of cavities for the first two years and 50% by the fourth year.
While cavity protection will gradually wane as the material wears, most kids will get four or five years before sealants need to be reapplied. Parents can opt for new dental sealants to be placed when their child’s dentist sees that a tooth’s surface is no longer sealed.
2. They are cost-effective and prevent future dental bills.
Dental sealants are very reasonably priced and a number of popular insurance plans do offer full or partial coverage. The real cost-savings of sealants are their potential to save parents time and money in the long run by reducing the chances of future dental bills.
Coupled with a nutritious diet that includes limited sugar, a great at-home dental care routine, and regular dentist visits, the chances of cavities forming on the covered teeth are exceptionally low. No cavities mean a healthier smile for your child and no need for fillings, dental crowns, root canals, and other tooth decay treatments.
3. Dental sealants are versatile and can be used to monitor early decay.
Premature loss of baby teeth should be avoided in order to ensure the proper alignment of future adult teeth. Dental sealants can be used to protect baby teeth from developing tooth decay if caught at a very early stage.
Translucent sealants allow dentists to be able to see what’s going on with your child’s tooth, even while still fully protected by the resin material. In some situations where a baby tooth has a small discolored spot and is at risk for a cavity, a pediatric dentist can apply a sealant to that specific tooth. This prevents the decay from spreading or worsening at a high rate until the baby tooth is naturally shed.
4. They prevent the loss of both baby teeth and adult teeth.
Tooth decay is the most common cause of tooth loss in kids — both premature loss of baby teeth and loss of permanent teeth. Molars are especially at risk for decay as they are hard to reach when brushing, have a lot of grooves along the chewing surface and can hide food debris easily.
As mentioned above, losing baby teeth before they’re naturally due to shed can impact the alignment of adult teeth as they erupt. Missing baby teeth can also make it difficult for your child to chew thoroughly and even speak properly, especially during those crucial years of physical and mental growth.
Missing adult teeth are even more serious, especially when it comes to molars. Missing these teeth can impact the shape of your child’s face and jaw, make chewing difficult or even painful and require expensive future restorations in the form of dental bridges or dental implants.
5. Dental sealants allow kids to safely practice independent brushing.
Most kids will begin to brush and floss independently around the age of 7 or 8, though parents are encouraged to supervise for a while longer. Sealants help give parents more peace of mind that their child’s teeth have extra protection while they’re learning the ropes of brushing and flossing on their own.
The smooth surface of sealants also makes it easier for kids to get their molars clean compared to the natural grooved surface of these teeth.
Ask your child’s dentist when they should have dental sealants applied.
The best source of information about dental sealants for your child is a pediatric dentist. You can schedule your child’s next appointment today by calling your closest Pediatric Dental Specialists office or filling out this online book form.