The Protective Power of Dental Sealants

“Your child has a cavity,” is a phrase every parent would happily go without hearing during their child’s six-month checkup. Unfortunately for many parents, tooth decay remains a battle despite them doing their very best to ensure their child brushes properly and stays away from sugar. But what if there was an additional tool that could help keep cavities at bay? Actually, there is! It’s called dental sealants.

What are dental sealants?

Dental sealants are a type of preventive care treatment similar to topical fluoride varnishes that your child may get after a cleaning. They are both optional and used to prevent cavities, though the majority of pediatric dentists might argue they are far more of a necessity than a luxury. The difference is a dental sealant forms a physical barrier against tooth decay.

As the American Dental Association explains, sealants are like raincoats for kids’ teeth. Your child’s dentist will carefully apply a liquid, plastic-like material over the surface of your child’s molars and then cure it until it hardens. The result is a very durable clear coating over your child’s most vulnerable teeth.

Dental sealants can be applied on baby teeth as well as adult teeth. They are primarily placed on the molars, as these teeth are difficult to reach with a toothbrush and, thus, more prone to developing cavities.

What problems do dental sealants prevent?

The main problem dental sealants prevent is tooth decay, and they are incredibly effective at their job. The CDC has found that properly applied sealants reduce the risks of decay by 80%, and kids who don’t have sealants have a three times higher risk of developing tooth decay than those who do.

By doing such a stellar job at preventing cavities, sealants thereby prevent other related oral health problems like halitosis, pediatric gum disease or gingivitis, and dental infections. They really help protect your child’s overall oral health.

Why should I get dental sealants for my child?

Maybe your child doesn’t usually get cavities or you’re wary of unnecessary dental care because dental visits are stressful for them. These two concerns are completely valid, but in many cases, the benefits of sealants outweigh any potential disadvantages.

Here are 5 reasons why you might want to get dental sealants for your child.

1. They prevent the premature loss of baby teeth.

Baby teeth aren’t going to be around forever, but cavities on baby teeth are still a big problem. Not only can they transfer decay to neighboring teeth, but they might lead to an extraction if the decay progresses past a certain point. Premature loss of baby teeth can make talking and chewing difficult, and may even impede the future arrival of adult teeth.

Dental sealants can be applied to vulnerable baby teeth as a way of preventing decay from occurring and therefore ensuring baby teeth remain until they are naturally ready to shed.

2. They halt early decay from progressing.

You might be surprised to learn that sealants can be applied to baby teeth that already show signs of early decay. If your child’s pediatric dentist notices the beginning of a cavity or soft patch, they can place a dental sealant over the tooth. This can prevent the need for a filling, add strength to the tooth, and ensure decay doesn’t progress.

3. They protect adult teeth from the start.

Dental sealants are traditionally placed on newly emerged adult teeth. Protecting adult teeth from decay is crucial, especially since kids are prone to cavities during their school years. Having sealants placed on these adult teeth gives kids a great start toward a healthy smile and beautiful, decay-free teeth as a teen and young adult.

4. Treatment is quick and painless.

Dental sealants are applied surprisingly quickly and require no anesthesia or numbing. Kids who do well with routine cleanings will find sealants to be a breeze! 

5. They are an economical, long-lasting option.

Dental sealants are very affordable, and most dental insurance plans offer coverage. Best of all, properly applied dental sealants last for years, and they continue to protect teeth throughout this time! It isn’t uncommon for sealants to still be in place and effective for five to eight years or more after they’ve been applied.

Book your child’s dental sealant appointment at We Make Kids Smile.

Dental sealants can be applied during your child’s routine checkup appointment or on their own. If your child is due for a checkup, we can combine both in one appointment. If your child recently had a checkup but you’d like to come in to have their sealants applied, all you need to do is call your preferred location and use this online form.

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