Your child’s first loose baby tooth is a significant milestone for both of you. Parents and children alike both love showing off a big toothless grin, and a loose tooth...
“Sealant” is synonymous with home improvement projects – but not necessarily with our teeth. So if your child’s dentist brought up the need for sealants at a recent exam, you’re understandably a little confused.
Fact of the matter is, sealants can be a significant aid in preventing childhood tooth decay.
Sealants Help Boost Kids’ Oral Hygiene
Having sealants applied to your children’s teeth can mean the difference between a lifetime of healthy teeth and the pain and health risks of chronic tooth decay. Decades of research shows that coating the biting surfaces of 6-year molars with a resin-based sealant can reduce cavities by up to nearly 80% immediately, and up to 60% over four years or more.
Sealants work by acting like a 24-hour toothbrush, protecting your children’s teeth from the effects of bacteria and acids that cause cavities and tooth decay.
The Right Age for Sealants
Many parents may be completely unfamiliar with the basic facts of sealants because they did not undergo this procedure in their youth. The most important fact to take away on the topic of sealants is that timing is everything for applying this procedure.
Dental sealants are formed when a plastic-like liquid is applied onto the biting surface of the tooth, creating a barrier. The teeth that benefit from this treatment are the permanent molars because 90% of decay in an adult is on the biting surface of the back teeth.
Sealant should be applied to the permanent back teeth of a child as soon as the teeth fully erupt from the gums, which is typically around the age of six for most children.
Teenagers and adults can benefit from sealants, too.
Typically, sealants are applied to children’s permanent back molars as soon as the teeth come in as a way to protect the teeth through the cavity-prone years of ages 6 to 14. Adults without decay or fillings in their back molars can also benefit from the application of sealants.
If there is any evidence of decay on the molar, it’s argued that a sealant should not be placed because the barrier can trap plaque on the tooth, creating an environment that fuels future tooth decay. This is still an argued point between researchers and dentists, but is something that should be considered as a possibility.
How Long do Sealants Last?
Sealants can protect teeth from tooth decay for up to 10 years. Once the sealant has been applied, your dentist should regularly check on the condition of the sealants at regular dental check-ups to make sure there are are no signs of chipping or wearing.
If any of these issues are present, your dentist can replace sealants as necessary by re-applying the sealant and setting it with an ultraviolet light just as in the initial process.
Why Preventing Childhood Tooth Decay is a Big Deal
You do everything possible to ensure your child has the best and brightest future possible. Making sure your child has regular dental check-ups and teeth cleaning is just as important as making sure they’re eating the right nutrition balanced foods and getting enough exercise.
Establishing a correct oral hygiene routine for your children at a young age can help in preventing lifelong struggles with frequent decay. Problems may include any of the following:
- Tooth Development Issues. Your child’s baby teeth pay not be permanent, but their health is just as important to your child’s smile. Creating healthy oral hygiene habits early on in your child’s life will aid in a seamless transition when those permanent teeth begin to transition in. Baby teeth also create space in the jaw for permanent teeth and help ensure a healthy, straight, and proper tooth development period.
- Creation of Dental Anxiety. Countless adults suffer from dental anxiety because of experiences they had during childhood. Helping your child avoid cavities will alleviate the need for fillings or other stressful dental work at a young age. Keep your child feeling confident about the dentist with positive dental check-ups.
- Confidence In Their Smile. Give your child the power to be confident in themselves and their healthy smile. Building your child’s self esteem while they’re young will impact them for the rest of their life.
Getting Sealants For My Children
Sealants should only be placed during an office visit by a trained dental professional who has experience in applying sealants. The procedure is usually quick and painless, but children will need to be able to stay still during the application.
Give your children the best chance at a lifetime of healthy teeth and ask Hoffman Dental Care about sealants for your kids teeth at their next dental cleaning.