Dental sealants are a quick, easy, and a relatively cheap solution for preventing cavities. Although the idea behind sealants is not new, they’re quickly becoming the go-to treatment for kids who need extra help in the dental department. Dental sealants is a thin, plastic coating painted on the chewing surfaces of teeth -- usually the back teeth (the premolars and molars) to prevent tooth decay. The sealant quickly bonds into the depressions and grooves of the teeth, forming a protective shield over the enamel of each tooth.
Why dental sealants?
The most important reason for getting sealants is to avoid tooth decay. Children who are notoriously bad brushers and tend to ignore the problem areas in the back of their mouth, that lead to cavities and decay, are prime candidates for sealants. Also, children who are more susceptible to cavities and decay, genetically prone to cavities, don’t have great oral hygiene habits, or lack access to dental care, should consider getting dental sealants as a preventative measure. Children should get sealants on their permanent molars as soon as the teeth come in and before decay attacks the teeth. The first permanent molars called "6-year molars" come in between the ages of 5 and 7.
How do dental sealants work?
Dental sealants fill in and smooth out the grooves and fissures in your teeth that tend to hide food particles and attract cavity-causing bacteria. Having sealants put on your child’s teeth before they decay will also save time and money in the long run by avoiding fillings, crowns, or caps used to fix decayed teeth. While brushing and flossing are critical components of any dental health regimen, sealants provide additional protection for the grooved areas of teeth from what is known as pit and fissure decay
Who applies dental sealants?
During an office visit, the dentist or a highly trained dental hygienist could apply the dental sealants. Prior to an application, teeth should be properly cleaned and examined. The tooth is dried; a material is placed onto the tooth, then rinsed and dried off. Next, the sealant material is placed on the biting surface of the tooth, and a special light is placed above the tooth to harden the sealant into the tooth surface. This procedure is usually quick and painless; note the child will need to stay still during the appointment.
Are dental sealants safe?
Parents are familiar with the buzzword “BPA.” The biggest factor in the general safety of dental sealants is Bisphenol A, commonly referred to as BPA, which is a resin used in many types of plastics. There is some evidence that BPA can be harmful to a child’s health, but it’s not conclusive. Dental sealants themselves don’t contain BPA, but many of them contain compounds that turn into BPA when they come in contact with saliva. Call us today to discuss if you are interested in dental sealants for your child.