Flower Mound, TX – Tooth decay is the most common chronic disease in our children. Teaching your child to brush and floss their teeth each day is the best way to prevent cavities and build oral hygiene habits for life. When brushing and flossing aren’t enough to stop the tide of sugar-fueled cavities, we can turn to dental sealants as an extra line of defense for kids’ teeth.
But what are dental sealants, exactly? Dental sealants are thin, protective coatings painted on the chewing surfaces of premolars and molars to prevent decay. They can either be clear or made to match the color of surrounding teeth.
Children are often less than perfect with brushing technique. Even if your child has excellent oral hygiene, it’s not easy to clean the pits and grooves of molars. These grooves can be thinner than a single toothbrush bristle. Food particles and germs can hide in these challenging areas, which can lead to cavities.
Dental sealants add an extra layer of defense over these hard-to-brush areas by creating a smooth surface to keep bad stuff out, protecting your child’s teeth against plaque and decay for many years.
When Should My Child Get Dental Sealants?
As with most preventive strategies, it’s good to do it early. Your first molars erupt around age six, and your second molars around age 12. We recommend sealing these teeth as soon as they appear. In some cases, we may recommend applying sealants to other permanent teeth or even baby teeth if they have deep grooves or pitted areas that will be cavity prone.
What Can You Expect for Your Child During the Procedure?
Dental sealants are nothing to worry about — their application is fast, painless, and done in one visit.
After a thorough cleaning, the targeted teeth will be conditioned and dried to ensure the sealant adheres properly. The sealant is then carefully painted on, and then cured with a special light. That’s it! Your child can even eat and drink right after treatment.
Caring for Teeth After Dental Sealants
Even though their teeth have been sealed, brushing and flossing is still very important. Proper dental hygiene, healthy eating, and regular dental check-ups will protect all of their teeth. Brushing and flossing is also important because it will ensure that dental sealants last for many years. Avoid chewing on hard objects like ice; this can damage any teeth, but this action can also crack sealants.
Each time your child is in for regular cleanings, we’ll check on their sealants to determine if/when they need to be reapplied.
Should My Child Get Dental Sealants?
Dental sealants alone are not enough to prevent cavities, but they will help minimize the risk of decay in vulnerable teeth. According to the Centers for Disease and Control (CDC), dental sealants prevent 80 percent of cavities in molars. The data also shows that children ages 6-11 without dental sealants have almost three times more first molar cavities than children who have them. Early cavity prevention can help eliminate the need for future dental treatments like fillings and crowns.
If you have any questions about dental sealants or need to schedule an exam for you or your child, please contact us and we’ll discuss the best options for your child. We look forward to seeing you soon!
Helping Kids Love Dentistry!