How Sealants Help Prevent Tooth Decay in Children

Dentist examining a child at dental office

Tooth decay is a prevalent issue among children, with 46% of kids aged 2 to 19 having untreated cavities. These cavities can lead to pain, infection, and potential tooth loss. While regular brushing and flossing are essential, they often aren’t enough to protect the deep grooves and pits in children’s molars.

Dental sealants shield enamel from plaque and acids and reduce the risk of cavities. Simple, painless, and effective, sealants provide an extra layer of defense against tooth decay, making them a vital tool in maintaining children’s oral health.

What Are Dental Sealants?

Dental sealants are thin coatings that a dentist applies to the upper surfaces of your child’s molars and premolars. The back teeth have deep fissures that can easily trap bacteria and food particles, making them more prone to developing cavities. The sealant material creates a smooth surface, preventing this debris from settling in the hard-to-clean areas and preventing tooth decay.

The CDC states that sealants can protect against 80% of cavities for two years after they have been applied and continue to protect against 50% for up to four years.

Application Process

Dental sealants are applied in a straightforward procedure. Pediatric dentists clean and dry the teeth, then use an acidic gel to roughen the surface, ensuring the sealant material adheres appropriately. After a few seconds, the gel is rinsed off, and the teeth are dried again. The sealant is then painted onto the tooth enamel and hardened with a special curing light.

Benefits of Sealants

The American Dental Association (ADA) and the CDC strongly recommend sealants for children. Research shows that children without sealants have almost three times more first molar cavities than those with sealants.

If your child’s premolars and molars have recently erupted, they may benefit from having dental sealants applied. Some of the benefits you can expect from a dental sealant treatment include:

  • Effective protection. Sealants protect against tooth decay, particularly on chewing surfaces prone to cavities.
  • Cost-effective. Preventing cavities with sealants can save money on future dental treatments like fillings or crowns.
  • Painless application. The application process is quick, easy, and non-invasive, making it suitable for children.
  • Long-lasting. Sealants can last up to 10 years before needing reapplication.

Sealants and Oral Hygiene

While sealants are highly effective, they are not a substitute for good oral hygiene. Children should continue to brush and floss twice daily to maintain overall oral health. Ensure they use fluoride toothpaste, which protects their teeth by remineralizing tooth enamel to prevent erosion and decay.

Also, make sure they attend regular dental check-ups to monitor the condition of the sealants.

Protect Your Child’s Smile with Sealants

Sealants are a powerful tool in pediatric dentistry for preventing tooth decay. They protect the chewing surfaces of molars and premolars, help maintain good oral health, and reduce the risk of cavities. Parents should consider sealants a proactive step in their child’s dental care routine.

For more information about sealants or to schedule an appointment, contact Hinsdale Dental today. Give your child the gift of a healthy smile.

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