How Can Dental Sealants Prevent Cavities?
During your child’s next 6 month check-up, ask your pediatric dentist about dental sealants and how they can prevent cavities. In many cases, it is nearly impossible for children to clean the tiny grooves in their teeth – especially those molars in the back of their mouths. This is where sealants can help!
What Are Sealants?
Sealants are a hardened plastic resin material that protects teeth from bacteria. When sealants are applied to a tooth, it’s bonded into the grooves of the chewing surface. There are no longer any places on the chewing part of the tooth that a toothbrush can’t reach and clean, which aids in preventing tooth decay.
When we explain dental sealants to kids, we often compare them to a shield or raincoat, keeping the bacteria and acids in foods from settling into the teeth, just like a raincoat prevents people from getting wet.
What To Expect When Getting Sealants
Sealants are quick and painless! Generally, the procedure of applying a sealant takes just one visit, and all normal activities can resume directly after the appointment. To prepare to put the sealant in place, we’ll put a gauze in your mouth to make sure your teeth are comfortable and kept dry. Next we clean your tooth to prepare to apply the sealant. After the sealant is applied, your pediatric dentist will then harden your new sealant with a blue light to help protect the tooth from cavities and bacteria. Sealants are typically clear or white, so they’re not visible when you’re smiling or talking.
Even with sealants, children should still continue to brush and floss daily. Sealants do not completely protect teeth from cavities. At your next routine dental checkup, your pediatric dentist will ensure that your sealants aren’t in need of repair or reapplication. Sealants should last several years but can become loose or worn over time and need to eventually be replaced to continue to protect the tooth properly.
Should My Child Get Sealants?
If your child has trouble brushing well, sealants may be an option to consider. Sealants are used most in children and teenagers since that’s when teeth are first developing and signs of tooth decay may begin to arise. The best way to know for sure is to speak with your pediatric dentist at your next appointment to determine if sealants are the best option for your child.
The benefits of sealants are:
- Prevent cavities
- Reduced dental expenses
- Quick and painless procedure
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