Dental sealants are increasingly becoming commonplace for children, leaving parents wondering whether they’re necessary or beneficial. There are several advantages of dental sealant for children, but parents must have all the facts before making any treatment decisions.
What Are Dental Sealants?
Sealants on children’s teeth are thin coatings made from medical-grade resin. The material is similar to that of composite fillings. These coatings are painted onto teeth to prevent decay by providing a protective barrier. Because teeth have so many ridges and crevices, food and plaque can easily get trapped. Sealants help by blocking them out.
Benefits of Dental Sealants for Children
Two common questions parents ask are: Are sealants good for children’s teeth? Why do dentists put sealant on kids’ teeth?
There are many benefits of dental sealants. They’re inexpensive, simple, and efficient. Unlike many other preventative dental treatments, dental sealants for kids don’t involve a complex application process. Moreover, they’re easy to repair and last a long time.
Provides a Shield Against Plaque and Foods
One of the main functions of dental sealants is providing teeth protection coating. They’re especially common on molars because these have more indentations that can make food stick. Plaque buildup is another concern. Even the best brushers will have some food and plaque particles on their teeth.
Easy To Apply
Taking children to the dentist is overwhelming for parents. It can be an even more difficult task if you have a child with sensory issues or anxiety. The good news is that pediatric dental sealants are not one of the treatments you’ll have to worry much about.
Applying dental sealants does not require anesthesia. That means there are no needles involved that could potentially make your child nervous. Not much is needed other than a brush to apply the sealant with. This makes the process easy, comfortable, and quick.
Dental Sealants Are Long Lasting
The dental sealants dentist will place on your kids’ teeth will offer them protection for up to ten years. However, many pediatric dentists recommend that your kids’ dental sealants be replaced every two to four years. How long the sealants last will depend on several factors, such as your child’s oral hygiene, diet, and overall care.
Even with the best of care, sealants can wear down over time. While patients can safely wear sealants for ten years, that doesn’t mean the sealants’ efficiency will last as long. That’s why your child’s dentist will check them each year at their annual checkup. If your child needs new sealants, they can easily be replaced at the same visit.
To lengthen the lifespan of your child’s dental sealants, you can encourage healthy habits such as flossing daily and brushing at least twice a day. Additionally, make sure your child doesn’t chew on things such as hard candy or ice cubes. These can make the sealants wear down faster.
Reduces Dental Costs
One of the greatest advantages of dental sealants for children is that they’re affordable. Most insurance providers will cover them because they’re a good preventive treatment against cavities.
Because dental sealants are an effective measure against damage, they will also reduce dental costs in the long run. Filling in cavities is costly and a much more complex procedure. Cavities can also lead to bigger problems such as developing infections. Occasionally, you may have to extract teeth as well.
Not having to worry about future tooth decay for your child is priceless. It can save your family a lot of heartache and financial stress to protect teeth with sealants.
Easy To Maintain and Repair
Dental sealants are strong enough to last years. Even if they are worn down quicker than expected, you can easily have more sealant brushed on. The ease and painlessness of application are some of the greatest benefits of dental sealants.
Ensures Better Dental Health
A tooth with a filled-in cavity is not as healthy as a tooth without cavities. This is one of the main reasons the CDC recommends dental sealants for kids. Dental sealants can prevent up to 80% of cavities during the first two years. By four years, dental sealants can protect teeth against 50% of cavities.
Because the protection dental sealants provide declines with time, most dentists will recommend repairing sealants every two to four years for best results.
Additionally, ensuring that children prevent cavities on their current teeth will help improve the health of their permanent teeth. Protecting baby teeth is an important step in setting your child up for a future of good oral health.
Can Adults Get Dental Sealants?
Though most dental sealants are placed on children and teens, adults can ask about getting them too. Kids are more prone to getting cavities between the ages of 6 and 14, but you can get cavities at any age. You’re also at an increased risk for cavities if you do any of the following:
- Commonly eat sugary foods or drink sugary beverages
- Neglect brushing at least twice a day
- Have a family history of tooth decay
- Suffer from chronic dry mouth
- Have irregularities in your enamel
Anything that puts the health of your teeth at risk can make you a candidate for dental sealants, even if you’re an adult. If you have some mild decay on your molars, you may still be a candidate. However, dental sealants cannot be placed on teeth that already have significant decay.
Lastly, you won’t have to worry about your sealants showing as an adult, because the coating applied will be either clear or match the shade of your natural teeth.
Dental sealants are recommended by many experts and pediatric dentists because they provide an easy and affordable way to help protect against cavities. Best of all, application is quick and painless.
Find a dentist and take preventative measures. You can save money on dental costs associated with fixing damaged or decayed teeth later.
Evelyn Lahiji, Children’s Dental FunZone Executive Director, joined the company in 2007 with her extensive knowledge of the dental field due to years of working in every position at multiple dental offices. Under her leadership, 12 additional offices opened and quickly became successful. Evelyn works hard to ensure all operations are running smoothly both in the offices and at home raising 2 energetic young boys.