Why Do My Gums Bleed When I Floss?October 31, 2023
How Often Can You Whiten Your TeethNovember 30, 2023
Do you want a great way to help keep your kid’s teeth healthy as they grow? Dental sealants could help prevent cavities in your child’s mouth, but what are dental sealants, and how do they work to stop decay? Find out how this dental technology works to help your child start their life with healthy teeth.
What Is Dental Sealant?
Dental sealants are simple solutions to the problem of tooth decay in young children. The back teeth can be difficult for young children to care for properly. Sealants give kids a little help by covering the tooth and creating a barrier to tooth decay.
After placement, sealants can prevent up to 80% of cavities for the first two years. In the next four years, they’ll prevent 50% of cavities in covered teeth.
How Do Dental Sealants Work?
Dental sealants create a simple barrier of plastic over the teeth. Each sealant protects the tooth’s surface from bacteria that cause tooth decay. By blocking this bacteria from the surfaces of the teeth, sealants can prevent most cavities that would otherwise develop.
By protecting a kid’s permanent teeth in their youth, they’ll grow up with strong, healthy, and cavity-free teeth by the time they become adults.
Who Can Get Sealants?
In most cases, children get dental sealants on their back teeth because late childhood and the early teen years are prime times for cavity development in permanent teeth. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 57% of teens between 12 and 19 have at least one cavity in their adult teeth.
Because sealants only work on teeth without any existing cavities or fillings, most dentists place them on the molars of children. Generally, as soon as the adult molars erupt, dentists want to protect them with sealants. This often happens around age six for the first molars and age 12 for the second molars.
However, adults may also get sealants to protect their back teeth as long as they don’t have any cavities or fillings in those teeth. Since 90% of people over 20 have had at least one cavity, the chance of an adult fulfilling the criteria for sealants is much lower than for a child. Consequently, most people associate getting sealants as a service offered to kids only.
Getting Dental Sealants for Your Child
While most children can benefit from sealants, not all can get them. Children who already have cavities in their adult teeth cannot get sealants. Therefore, don’t waste time before talking to your child’s dentist about getting sealants for them. Only your child’s dentist can determine if dental sealants will help to prevent cavities in their adult teeth.
Does My Child Need Dental Sealants If They Brush Daily?
Children may not always follow the best brushing habits. Even if they do, they often have diets high in sugary foods that can cause tooth decay.
Sealants work with daily brushing to prevent cavities. They cannot replace the essential role that good brushing and flossing habits have for your child.
When Should My Child Get Dental Sealants?
To obtain the most significant amount of protection for your child, you should talk to their dentist for the best timing. Most children will get dental sealants as their adult teeth come in. In many cases, there may be years between when a child gets their first and second set of sealants.
Children around six who have their first set of adult molars will need their first set of sealants over those teeth. Around 12, they should have their second permanent molars erupt. At that time, they should get sealants over those teeth.
Even if your child is older but doesn’t have cavities in their molars, they may still qualify to get sealants. Talk to your child’s dentist for personalized information on whether the doctor thinks sealants can help your child.
Do I Need a Pediatric Dentist for My Child to Get Sealants?
Your child needs a dentist who knows the particular anatomy of young teeth. A child-focused dentist knows about sealants and how to use them to reduce the chances of cavities in children’s teeth.
To find such a doctor, parents look for pediatric dentists who only treat children. While these dentists are great for working with kids, parents will need another dental office for their dental care.
Family dentists offer dental care for the entire family, including providing sealants to kids. If you choose this type of dental office, you have one location for dental services for everyone in your family, old and young. You’ll find family dentists at Matthews Family Dentistry.
Maintaining Results from Sealants
Sealants should last for years as long as your child takes care of their teeth. To ensure that you get the most from these preventative devices, choose your dentist well. Properly placed sealants keep germs and decaying acid from damaging the teeth.
How Long Will Dental Sealants Last?
Sealants tend to last an average of five years, after which they will need replacement. However, some sources claim nine years of longevity from sealants. Good care of the sealants and the occasional replacement of missing ones can extend the time your child has protection against cavities on their molars.
Do Dental Sealants Require Special Care?
To ensure that sealants offer the maximum amount of cavity protection possible, continue to take your child to regular checkups and cleanings with their dentist. At these dental appointments, the doctor can replace missing sealants.
Also, make sure that your child brushes and flosses their teeth twice a day. These practices should not dislodge the sealants that the dentist bonds to the teeth. The sealant does not cover the entire tooth, only the chewing surface. Regular brushing will help to keep the rest of the tooth healthy and free of decay.
Protect Your Teeth or Those of Your Child with Dental Sealants
At Matthews Family Dentistry, we care for the teeth of your entire family. Bring your child in for a checkup and determine if dental sealants can help them keep their teeth healthy and cavities-free. Contact us to schedule an appointment for you or your child.