Children get cavities, whether due to poor brushing habits, poor diet or simply the structure of their teeth – they are a fact of most children’s lives. Luckily, there is a way to prevent them, in addition, of course, to proper brushing and flossing habits. Dental sealants, which are a coating that is applied to a child’s “chewing teeth” or those that go way back, including the molars, help to seal out plaque and therefore, prevent dental decay.
Some parents wonder why they should put dental sealants on their child’s teeth. If they make it a habit of brushing and flossing after they eat and avoid gummy or extremely sugary foods, shouldn’t their child be cavity free? Unfortunately, no matter how good a child’s dental habits may be, they cannot control the grooves and crevices in their back teeth. These difficult structures make it almost impossible for the toothbrush to work its way all the way into the teeth, allowing plaque to build up, which can cause bacteria build up and eventually cause decay. When dental sealants are applied, nothing can get through the surface of the tooth, preventing cavities in your child’s mouth.
There is no definite age that children should get dental sealants; it depends on the growth of their teeth. The general age is between 6-14, depending on when the molars come in. The sealants can be applied to pre-molars and permanent molars, depending on their structure. Sometimes, it is necessary to apply sealants to other teeth, including baby teeth, depending on what they look like. If they have a lot of grooves that make it difficult to protect them from decay, it might be necessary to seal them in order to prevent premature loss of the teeth, which can cause issues for the permanent teeth when they begin to grow.
Getting dental sealants is not a painful process. It simply involves a routine cleaning, to enable the teeth to be perfectly clean before being sealed. After the cleaning, the teeth are dried and prepped with an acid solution that makes the sealant stick better. The final step is applying the sealant, which in essence, is like painting your child’s teeth.
Once your child’s teeth are sealed, it will be much easier to keep them clean and free from decay, which can set your child up for a lifetime of healthy teeth.