Benefits of Dental Sealants for Kids
We all know that brushing and flossing are the main pillars of prevention for cavities, and though this works well for the smooth surfaces of teeth, it is not as efficient elsewhere. Posterior teeth, especially molars, have deep pits and fissures that can easily trap food. Since these areas are more difficult to clean, the food that remains there is perfect for cavity-causing bacteria in the mouth.
For children, there is another layer of protection in the war against cavities, known as dental sealants and they are done by us at our South Bay pediatric dentistry.
What are dental sealants?
A dental sealant is a thin, protective barrier that is placed on the chewing surfaces of posterior teeth to prevent food and bacteria from getting stuck in them. While they are not a substitute for proper brushing and flossing, they can prevent the formation of cavities. In fact, according to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) sealants have been shown to reduce the incidence of cavities by up to 86% after one year and 58% after four years. This means that when used in conjunction with proper brushing and flossing, along with a healthy diet, your child can have enjoy good oral health.
How Are Sealants Applied?
Getting dental sealants is a quick, easy, and painless procedure. Oftentimes, sealants are applied after a dental cleaning. After drying the tooth to be sealed, an acidic gel is placed on the grooves and fissures for a few seconds. This gel roughens up the surface of the tooth and ensures that the sealant remains in place. The gel is then rinsed, and the tooth dried before the sealant is applied directly onto the grooves of the tooth and a light used to harden the sealant. That’s it. You will feel no different and you can eat and drink as normal.
Though longevity may vary, sealants can last for several years before they need to be replaced. Regularly attending your favorite kid’s dentist in Torrance, California for checkups will ensure that they are monitored and reapplied as needed.
Which teeth can be sealed and when can I get it done?
Sealants are typically applied to the permanent molars that usually appear around age 6 and 12. The number of teeth that are sealed often depends on your child’s caries risk (i.e., how likely they are to develop cavities) and this is in turn affected by other factors such as their oral hygiene habits and diet. To get maximum protection from sealants, it is usually recommended that teeth are sealed as soon as they fully erupt.
What are the benefits of dental sealants for kids?
In case you’re still not sure about whether dental sealants are right for your child, here are some benefits below:
Sealants prevent cavities: Dental caries (a.k.a. cavities) is the most common chronic disease of children between the ages of 6 to 11 years old. Dental sealants help to greatly reduce your child’s risk of developing cavities (again, by up to 86%) by providing another layer of protection and preventing your child from other unfortunate side effects of tooth decay including pain and infection.
When we eat or drink, a sticky film known as plaque is left on our teeth. Bacteria within the plaque can feed on sugars within the foods you eat and drink to produce acids. Though enamel is the hardest substance in the human body, if the bacteria have a constant source of food available-like food stuck in a pit or fissure-it will cause erosion of the enamel and tiny holes (cavities) can form. For children especially who love to eat sweet, sticky foods (candy anyone?), dental sealants are of great benefit.
Avoid fillings: The dental office is not an idyllic place for most people, and the dental ‘drill’ is one of the reasons why. What is even worse is what often comes before it (that dreaded needle) and no one likes that-least of all kids. If a tooth develops a cavity, the decay will have to be removed using the ‘drill’ and then a restorative material placed. By contrast, dental sealants are a non-invasive procedure that prevents teeth from developing cavities that require fillings. Save yourself time, money, and trauma (of you and your child) by getting dental sealants.
Maintain a healthy smile: give your children the best foundation for their oral health by reducing their risk of cavities. Dental sealants along with good oral hygiene at home and regular dental appointments can help your child to have a healthy relationship with their mouth that lasts a lifetime.
If you’re interested in having dental sealants done for your child, visit your favorite Torrance pediatric dentistry, Pearly Smiles Pediatric Dentistry, and let’s win the war against cavities!