Teaching your child how to brush and floss correctly is a great way to prevent future dental issues and build good oral habits that last a lifetime.
However, no matter how good their oral hygiene routine is, children are vulnerable to developing cavities in teeth that are harder to reach, like their molars. Dental sealants are an affordable and non-invasive way to safeguard teeth.
What Are Dental Sealants?
Dental sealants are protective coatings bonded over the pits and grooves (fissures) on the surface of premolars and molars to seal out bacteria, plaque, and tartar, reducing the risk of tooth decay. They are usually placed on back teeth but can be placed on other permanent teeth with deep fissures.
These transparent plastic resin coatings smooth out the chewing surfaces of back teeth, making them easier to clean and less likely to trap food, so the tooth is more resistant to caries.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), sealants on permanent molars reduce the risk of cavities by 80%.
How Are Dental Sealants Placed?
The teeth to be sealed are examined, and if there is minimal decay, it will be gently removed. The American Dental Association (ADA) states that sealants placed over cavities in the early stages can stop tooth decay.
The tooth is then cleaned and dried before applying an etching solution to roughen the surface so the sealant adheres better.
The tooth is then rinsed and dried again before the sealant is painted on the tooth and hardened with a curing light.
The entire process only takes a few minutes but helps to protect the tooth for about a decade.
When Should Children Get Dental Sealants?
Most dentists recommend sealing the premolars when they first erupt at around age 6 and the molars when they appear at around age 12.
Can Adults Get Dental Sealants?
Adults who do not have sealants or who are at risk for cavities can benefit from them. Adults may consider dental sealants if they experience any of the following conditions:
- Thinning enamel
- Deep fissures in the chewing surfaces of teeth
- One or more cavities a year
Are Dental Sealants Safe?
The only potential side effect of dental sealants is a rare allergic reaction to them. Your dentist can address your concerns if you or your child have allergies.
How to Prevent Cavities in Children
Although dental sealants are a discreet and effective preventative treatment for sealing out decay, they are not a replacement for an effective at-home oral care routine. Here are a few more tips on how to keep your child’s smile cavity-free:
- Avoid sugar
- Eat a healthy diet
- Cut down on snacking between meals
- Drink lots of water
- Brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste
- Floss daily
- Visit our practice twice a year
Schedule an Appointment for Dental Sealants
To learn more about dental sealants and how they can protect your child’s teeth, call Valley Dental of Plainfield to schedule an appointment. Our staff is committed to making your child’s visit as fun and stress-free as possible.