When it comes to protecting your child’s dental health, prevention is key. One effective preventive measure that dentists often recommend is the application of dental sealants. Dental sealants act as a barrier, protecting the vulnerable surfaces of your child’s teeth from decay-causing bacteria. In this article, we will explore why children, in particular, benefit from receiving dental sealants.
What are dental sealants?
Dental sealants are thin, plastic coatings that are applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth, specifically the molars and premolars. These teeth have deep pits and grooves where food particles and plaque can easily accumulate, making them more prone to cavities. Dental sealants provide an extra layer of protection by sealing off these grooves and preventing bacteria from settling in.
Why do children need sealants?
Children are particularly vulnerable to tooth decay for several reasons. First and foremost, they are still learning proper oral hygiene practices and may struggle to effectively brush and floss their teeth. Additionally, children often consume more sugary treats and drinks, which increase the risk of cavities. Lastly, their newly erupted permanent teeth tend to have deeper fissures and undeveloped enamel, making them more susceptible to dental caries.
By applying dental sealants, you can provide your child with an added layer of defense against tooth decay, reducing the likelihood of cavities and the need for more invasive dental treatments in the future.
How are sealants applied?
The process of applying dental sealants is quick, painless, and non-invasive. Here is a step-by-step overview of what you and your child can expect:
Step 1: Cleaning
Your child’s dentist will thoroughly clean the teeth to be sealed. This ensures that no plaque or debris is trapped beneath the sealant, allowing for maximum protection.
Step 2: Preparation
Next, the dentist will isolate the teeth to be sealed using a small cotton roll or a dental dam. This helps keep the area dry during the application process.
Step 3: Application
The dentist will apply an acidic gel to the chewing surfaces of the teeth. This gel creates a rough surface that helps the sealant bond more effectively. After a short period, the gel is rinsed off, and the teeth are dried again.
Step 4: Sealing
The dental sealant is then carefully painted onto the prepared tooth surface. The sealant is usually a thin, liquid resin that quickly hardens when exposed to a special curing light or by self-curing. Once set, the sealant becomes a hard plastic coating that shields the tooth enamel.
How long do sealants last?
Dental sealants are designed to be long-lasting. With proper care and regular dental check-ups, they can protect your child’s teeth for up to 10 years. During routine dental visits, your dentist will evaluate the condition of the sealants and reapply them as needed.
Dental sealants are a valuable preventive treatment that can significantly benefit children in their ongoing oral health. By keeping their teeth protected from decay, sealants provide a cost-effective and non-invasive solution for parents who prioritize their child’s dental well-being. Remember, scheduling regular check-ups with your child’s dentist and encouraging good oral hygiene habits will further enhance the benefits of dental sealants.