Dental Sealants protect kids’ oral health.
As parents, we all try to do our best to keep our children’s teeth healthy. After all, no one wants a cavity. Sometimes, though, even if we make sure they brush, floss, and eat right, they might need that extra little bit of help. One simple and easy solution to help protect your kids’ teeth is with a dental sealant. Dental sealants for kids provides an extra barrier of protection that some of them need to stay cavity free.
At Spinnaker Pediatric Dentistry near Salem, OR, we want every child who visits our office to stay cavity free and have the best oral health possible. That’s why, in this post, we are going to discuss dental sealants for kids, which teeth need them and why, who is a potential candidate, and how sealants can prevent future problems for your children while also saving you time and money.
What are dental sealants?
A dental sealant is a special barrier that is placed over teeth to prevent damage from plaque buildup and from acidic foods and beverages. While brushing and flossing are still the most important part of your at-home oral health routine, a dental sealant is that extra step you can take to protect your children’s teeth and help prevent them from developing cavities.
In fact, recent studies have shown that young children without sealants can have as many as three times more cavities than children who do have sealants. Unfortunately, studies show that less than half of all school-aged children have these protective sealants.
The installation process is fairly simple. The dentist places the sealant over the teeth and typically uses a special light to harden the material in place, creating a long-lasting seal. The materials used are most often a dental-grade plastic that is safe to be placed over teeth, though other composite materials may also be used in the creation of the sealant.
Which teeth need sealants?
When it comes to our teeth, brushing and flossing can only do so much because of the limited amount of space in our mouths and the position of our teeth. For kids, the most at-risk teeth for cavities are the back teeth or molars. This is because the molars are the primary teeth that we chew food with, meaning they are more prone to trapping debris, which bacteria can then feed off.
It is also more difficult to reach every surface of our back teeth when brushing or flossing, which means keeping them completely clean is nearly impossible. For these reasons, dentists recommend that some children get sealants on their back teeth to help keep out much of the damage-causing plaque, debris, and acid from our foods and drinks.
Why They Need It
Like we discussed, the main reason our children’s molars need a sealant is because they are more difficult to keep clean. This is mostly due to their location in the mouth, but also because the back teeth are like little mountain ranges with deep crevices and mountain peaks.
This makes it easy for plaque and food debris to build up in the crevices of the teeth and getting it all out with brushing and flossing alone can be difficult for both children and adults. Having the extra protection of a sealant keeps out most debris and plaque, making it easier to keep the teeth clean, and lessening the chance of a cavity forming.
Who is a good candidate for a dental sealant?
Any child who has had their first permanent molar come in is generally a good candidate for dental sealants. The first primary molars usually come in around age six, with the second set arriving around age 12. Once each set of molars comes in, it’s a good time to have the sealant applied.
It’s important to remember that every child is different, but your child’s dentist will guide you with recommendations that are specific to your child. Sometimes other existing oral health issues may get in the way of placing a sealant.
How Sealants Save Your Child Possible Future Pain
Even when we try our best, we sometimes still end up with cavities and damage to our teeth. This is especially true for children who may not have mastered the art of brushing and flossing, and who naturally have thinner enamel on their baby teeth. Having cavities can be painful and require multiple trips to the dentist, which is something every parent wants to protect their child from.
How Dental Sealants For Kids Save You Time and Money
Another major benefit of having dental sealants is that it saves you a ton of time and money from all those dentist visits to treat cavities. Even if your child only has one fewer cavity because of the sealant, that’s time and money saved.
If it sounds like a dental sealant might be a good idea for your child, contact Spinnaker Pediatric Dentistry and schedule an appointment today.