If you're worried about the risk of decay with your child's teeth, then you may be wondering more about dental sealants. What exactly are they? How do they work? Are they even beneficial?
What Are Dental Sealants and How Do They Work?
Your child's molars have small depressions in the centers that are prone to decay. Bacteria can become trapped in these crevices and start to eat their way through the tooth enamel. Even with the best of brushing your child can face having a cavity that will need filling.
A dental sealant is a kind of paint that dentists apply to the surface of your child's molars. It bonds quickly to all of the contours of the tooth and acts like a protective shield. It works by preventing bacteria from ever getting a foothold in the small grooves of your child’s molars where brushing alone might not be able to clean. Sealants are a great solution to help prevent damage to your child’s teeth that might otherwise lead to further dental complications.
What Are the Reasons to Consider Dental Sealants for Children?
Sealants Provide Protection Where Brushing Cannot
While brushing is highly effective at scrubbing away bacteria, even the most proficient technique can't always eliminate bacteria that become established in every contour of your child's teeth. It's just not mechanically possible, even if they brush perfectly. Dental sealants make up for this by providing additional protection exactly where it's needed most.
Sealants Prevent Decay of Vulnerable Tooth Enamel
The modern diet is replete with foods that cause decay. Sugar is in most of the products on supermarket shelves, making it difficult to avoid. Worse still, a child who gets just two or three percent of total calories from sugar can experience altered mouth microbiome, increasing the risk of tooth decay.
Dental sealants are an extra layer of defense that you can use in addition to regular brushing and flossing. Sealants prevent harmful bacteria from damaging the most vulnerable sections of teeth, especially the areas in the center of molars.
Sealants Provide Years of Protection
A dentist will perform sealants as a treatment for children as young as five (or as soon as their premolars come in) up to the age of 14 based on recommendations by the American Dental Association (ADA). The sealants can offer up to 10 years of protection as long as they are checked regularly for wear and the proper precautions are taken with crunchy and sticky foods.
Sealants Are Often Covered by Insurance
A variety of dental insurance plans cover sealants since they are a proven preventative measure. Make sure to research ahead of time so you know exactly what your benefits cover. In some cases, only certain teeth may be covered and in others, there may be a limit as to how many you can have per a specified time.
Sealants Are Quick and Painless
When a dental hygienist or dentist applies sealants to your child’s teeth, the process is fast and painless. It can typically be done at the time of a regular check up, and involves the teeth being thoroughly cleaned and dried. Once that is achieved an acid solution is applied, then rinsed, and dried again. This step prepares the surface of the tooth and allows the adhesion of the sealant to be stronger. Finally, the sealant is painted on and a tool may be used to make sure it spreads to every crevice and then a curing light is used to harden it. The entire process takes only a few minutes.
There are many important reasons to consider getting sealants on your children’s teeth. If you have additional questions or would like to make an appointment, simply submit a contact form or call our office at: (208) 375-8720.