Dental Sealants for Kids: Protection from Tooth Decay
By Byron J Nordhus D.D.S. on February 16, 2018
Brushing and flossing are cornerstones of good dental hygiene. Yet there is more that can be done. We always try to instill good habits in young patients, for example. We can also offer dental sealants, a form of preventative pediatric dentistry that protects teeth from cavities.
The team at our Wichita, KS dental practice would like to go over some of the basics of dental sealants and why they may be right for your child.
What Are Dental Sealants?
If you run your tongue along your back teeth, you’ll notice the textured bumps and grooves. Food particles often wind up trapped in these surfaces, resulting in tooth decay over time.
Dental sealants are a protective plastic coating that is placed on the biting surfaces of the teeth. Dentists place these sealants on the young patient’s permanent teeth when they have emerged enough. Patients will be able to eat food with sealants in place, but they will have a highly effective means of cavity prevention in place.
Why Dental Sealants Are Effective
With this protective coating on the teeth, food particles never make direct contact with the tooth enamel itself. That barrier makes a major difference. With no food trapped in the textures parts of the teeth, there’s little risk of cavities developing.
Given the nature of dental sealants, they are most often put on the molars and premolars.
Do Dental Sealants Hurt?
Not at all.
The procedure for placing dental sealants is simple and pain-free. Young patients have little to worry about in terms of discomfort, scariness, or anything that would lead to anxiety.
Do Dental Sealants Alter Taste of Food?
While it may seem strange having a little bit of plastic on your teeth, the sealant material has no strange taste or smell. Patients can bite and chew normally as well. Your child won’t notice that the sealants are in place.
Ideal Age for Dental Sealants
Dental sealants are ideally placed when patients are in the K-6 age range. This is the time in a person’s life when they seem to be especially prone to cavities. Keep in mind that even adults can have dental sealants placed.
Essentially, the patient’s permanent molars and premolars should have emerged before the dental sealants are placed. Putting sealants on baby teeth would be ineffective since children lose those teeth early in life. (It’s still important to brush and floss those baby teeth, though.)
Dental Sealants Are Better Than Fillings
While dental fillings are effective at treating cavities, prevention is always the best medicine. With dental sealants in place, patients get to preserve as much of their natural tooth structure as possible. This is ideal for long-term dental care, as well as general wellness in the long run.
In essence, placing dental sealants at an early age gives your child a better shot at good dental health well into their golden years.
How Long Will Dental Sealants Last?
In general, dental sealants will last for up to ten years before needing to be reapplied. If touch up work is required, this can be performed during your child’s normal dental checkups.
Learn More About Cavity Prevention
For more information about dental sealants and your many options for cavity protection and prevention, be sure to contact our dental care center today. We look forward to answering any questions you may have about the advanced family dentistry services we offer.
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“Dr. Nordhus and the whole team are simply amazing. Humble, professional, and always a delight to work with. Highly recommend.” Derek W.