Why Some Children Need Dental Sealants
Even when children brush and floss every day, it’s still possible to develop tooth decay. Fortunately, a dental sealant is extremely effective at preventing decay for many children. A pediatric dentist may recommend one or more dental sealants after evaluating a child’s teeth during a routine appointment. In certain circumstances, a dentist will place a sealant at the same time as a filling.
Understanding Dental Sealants
A dental sealant is a thin, plastic piece of coating that goes over the surface of a child’s tooth to protect it from decay. The grooves of a tooth are especially vulnerable to decay. That is because they are challenging to clean and plaque can accumulate quickly. When a pediatric dentist places a sealant, it creates a smooth surface on the tooth. This makes the deep grooves much easier to keep clean.
The Timing of Dental Sealants
Most dentists wait until children have their six-year molars before applying a dental sealant for the first time. Once these teeth are in, a child can receive a sealant from that time until he or she is 16 years old. They typically go on the back molars. In addition to grooves that attract bacteria, the location of these teeth can make it challenging to reach them with a toothbrush.
The Process of Receiving Dental Sealants
Getting a dental sealant is a fast, painless process that pediatric dentists complete right in the office. It takes only a few minutes from start to finish. The dentist begins the procedure by cleaning the affected tooth and drying the saliva from it. He or she then paints the sealant material onto the enamel of the patient’s tooth and allows it to harden and bond to the tooth. This protects it from decay in the future.
According to the American Pediatric Dental Association, children who receive dental sealants usually have fewer cavities by age 18 than children who do not receive them. Parents who have questions about the procedure should contact their regular dentist for a more in-depth explanation.
At Suburban Essex Dental, West Orange, NJ we specialize in dental sealants. If you feel your children need dental sealants and will benefit from them greatly please feel free to contact us for any information or to schedule an appointment for a consultation.