What to Know About Your Child’s Dental Sealants
As a parent, you’re probably familiar with the common dental work you and your child will have to go through. Your child may have to get braces, have their wisdom teeth removed, and have cavities treated, in addition to the routine cleanings and checkups that are normal for a young child. However, dental sealants are one common treatment that you may have forgotten about completely.
While adults no longer require dental sealants during their bi-annual teeth cleaning, this treatment is routine for school-aged children (ages six to 12). A dental hygienist or dentist will usually apply dental sealants to the child’s back teeth, also known as molars, as soon as they appear.
Dental sealants are “painted on” the chewing surfaces of molars, and they can be extremely effective at preventing cavities in youngsters. In fact, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, sealants offer young kids a number of benefits:
- Dental sealants will prevent an incredible 80% of cavities in the molars, where 90% of all cavities occur.
- Kids without sealants are three times more likely to get first molar cavities compared to kids with sealants.
- Millions of low-income kids never receive sealants, but applying this simple treatment could save low-income families $300 million in future dental care costs!
What Are Dental Sealants?
If your child is about to have dental sealants placed in their mouth but aren’t sure what to expect, keep on reading!
The first thing you should know is what a sealant actually is. A sealant is a thin barrier that is applied to a tooth. They stick directly on the tooth and create a barrier from plaque and acids that cause cavities and tooth decay. They match the natural tooth, so you and your child don’t have to worry about anything looking abnormal when they smile. They usually last anywhere between five and 10 years, but if the material wears off before then it can easily be reattached.
If your child still has their molars, there’s a good chance they are going to need this treatment. Molars are located in a difficult-to-reach place in a person’s mouth, which means bacteria and germs can easily hide in them. Molars also have grooves that can be extremely hard to clean properly without the use of a dentist’s tools. Sealants can help prevent any bacteria from spreading or causing any cavities, but it shouldn’t be used as a teeth brushing replacement. You should also continue to visit the dentist on a regular basis and limit your child’s sugary food intake.
At least one in five Americans has one or more untreated cavities, which can lead to many other serious health problems. However, with the right treatment, parents can help their kids avoid this fate.
If your child needs sealants, don’t worry! They’re only placed in the mouth as a form of protection. If you have any specific questions about this common pediatric dental treatment, reach out to your family dentist or general dentist today.