Do your kids need dental sealants? They might. Dental sealants may sound like the sort of treatment option that is only required for adults after they experience years of tooth decay. However, dental sealants for children are an effective method for preventing tooth decay in the first place and a proven method of protecting the permanent molars that arrive for children between the ages of 6 and 12.
In this post, we will take a look at the basics of dental sealants, why they are a safe and effective treatment for preventing tooth decay in children, and where they fit into the overall plan for your child’s dental hygiene.
What are dental sealants made of?
Dental sealants are made of a liquid resin that is coated into the grooves of the permanent teeth and then hardened (or cured) with a bright light. Think of them as a light coating of paint that is applied to the teeth that prevents cavities from forming inside of the pits of those hard to reach back teeth that do most of the chewing work.
Dental sealants have been safely used for close to 5 decades as an effective method of preventing cavities. The application of dental sealants to your child’s teeth is painless, fast and non-invasive. They do not hurt and once they have sealed, you cannot notice them since they are white or clear. As such, they do not change the appearance of your child’s smile nor are they noticeable when your child talks or laughs.
Dental sealants simply act as a layer of protection for tooth enamel against plaque and the damaging acid that leads to tooth decay. Once applied, dental sealants last for years and are very effective in protecting teeth from tooth decay and cavities. During dental checkups, your pediatric dentist will assess the dental sealants to ensure they are still intact and should there be a need, a re-application of the sealant can be done quickly and easily.
Why should my child get dental sealants?
High risk patients (those with a history of cavities and recurring tooth decay) should always strongly consider dental sealants as a preventative measure against further cavities.
For older children who are experiencing dietary changes as they start to make their own food choices, dental sealants can also help protect the teeth against any poor dietary or dental hygiene habits that may start to pop up.
Preventing childhood tooth decay
Keep in mind that dental sealants for your child are simply one preventative measure for protecting the health of their back teeth from early childhood tooth decay. However, parents should always help to build strong habits for their children to help with keeping their child’s mouth healthy. These include establishing a brushing routine twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste, teaching kids how to floss once they are old enough, promoting a balanced diet with limited sugar intake (especially before bedtime), and scheduling regular visits to a pediatric dentist.
While dental sealants are a great option for preventative oral hygiene, they work best when in conjunction with strong daily dental hygiene habits. This is especially true during childhood when the establishment of a good dental hygiene routine can lead to a life time of good oral health.