We all know that brushing and flossing are the best ways to prevent cavities, but it’s not always easy to clean every tiny nook and cranny in your mouth–especially for young kids. Molars (back teeth) are usually the toughest to clean, often becoming a favorite place for cavity-causing bacteria to hide.
If you could give your child’s teeth an extra barrier of protection, would you? Dental sealants make it possible, literally sealing out food particles and plaque to help fight cavities and tooth decay. Dental sealants are one of several methods used by the pediatric dental experts at Smiles in Motion Pediatric Dentistry to keep your child’s teeth as clean and healthy as possible.
Here’s everything you never knew you needed to know about dental sealants, including the many benefits they provide and how they can impact your child’s long-term oral health.
The stats behind sealants
These numbers speak for themselves. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that school-age children without dental sealants have almost three times more cavities than children with sealants. Sealants have also been shown to reduce the risk of decay in molars – those difficult-to-reach back teeth – by nearly 80%.
What are dental sealants?
A dental sealant is a thin plastic coating painted on the chewing surfaces of your child’s teeth (usually premolars and molars) to prevent future tooth decay. The sealant bonds into the grooves of the teeth, forming a protective shield over each tooth’s enamel.
When the bacteria that lives in your child’s mouth meets leftover food particles, they produce acids that can create cavities. With dental sealants, these bits of food are shielded from your child’s teeth, preventing the acids that lead to tooth decay and other dental issues.
Forget Captain America’s shield–dental sealants are the real thing!
Who should get dental sealants?
Both children and adults can benefit from dental sealants, but the earlier you get them, the better. Your child will get their first molars around age six and their second molars around age 12. Sealing these teeth as soon as they come in can help your child stay cavity-free from the start, saving dollars and drilling in the long run.
In some cases, dental sealants may be appropriate for baby teeth that have deep depressions and grooves. Because your child’s baby teeth play such a huge role in holding the correct spacing for their permanent teeth, it’s important to keep them healthy–even though they will eventually fall out.
Does your child already have signs of tooth decay? Dental sealants can even be used on teeth with early decay to prevent further damage, especially clear sealants that allow your dentist to confirm they are doing their job.
How dental sealants are applied
Getting dental sealants is a quick and painless process. First, your Smiles in Motion pediatric dentist will clean and dry your child’s tooth, then apply a gel that roughens the tooth’s surface to strengthen the bond between the tooth and the sealant.
After a few seconds, your dentist will rinse off the gel and dry the tooth again before applying the sealant. To finish, the dentist uses a special blue light that hardens the sealant in about a minute or less.
Dental sealants do a lot of good
Dental sealants are used most frequently in children, although there are many benefits for patients of any age:
- Dental sealants are a proactive and affordable way to prevent cavities
- Dental sealants are easy to apply and take only a minute or two to dry
- Protection of the tooth begins immediately
- Dental sealants are white or clear in color, making them virtually invisible when talking or smiling
- Dental sealants can withstand normal chewing and often last several years before reapplication is needed
Dental sealants can protect your child’s teeth from decay for up to 10 years, but they should be checked for chipping or wearing at regular dental visits. Your Smiles in Motion pediatric dentist can replace dental sealants as necessary.
Seal it up! Make an appointment today
To learn more about dental sealants, we invite you to become part of the Smiles in Motion Pediatric Dentistry family. Because that’s exactly how we treat our patients–like family.
At Smiles in Motion Pediatric Dentistry, we do everything we can to create a positive experience for you and your child. As a top pediatric dentist in Wisconsin, you can trust Smiles in Motion Pediatric Dentistry to provide the high-quality dental care your child deserves. Come see what our patient-centered approach is all about! To schedule an appointment, contact us today.