Teaching your child to brush and floss is essential for their dental health, which they carry on throughout adulthood. But sometimes, they need more.
Another way to protect your child’s tooth is dental sealants. They add an extra layer of protection on the teeth, which protects them from decay-causing bacteria.
What Are Dental Sealants?
Dental sealants are thin coatings painted on top of teeth. They protect the tooth from decay and plaque.
At What Age Should Children Get Dental Sealants?
Most dentists recommend getting dental sealants as soon as the adult teeth in the back come in to protect them from decay. Typically children can receive dental sealants between the ages of 6 to 14. Their first molars come in around six years, while the second molars appear around 12 years.
Should Your Child Have Dental Sealants?
Reasons why your child should get dental sealants are:
- Dental sealants prevent 80% of dental cavities. School-age children get three times more cavities if they do not have dental sealants.
- Dental sealants are an easy and painless way to protect a child’s teeth.
- Sealants eliminate the need for expensive dental treatments in the future.
- They are a non-invasive method of protecting teeth, unlike fillings and crowns.
Your child should get dental sealants even if there is nothing wrong with their teeth. Sealants are a preventive measure parents take to protect their child’s teeth.
How Do Dental Sealants Work?
Dental sealants are painted on each tooth individually. The following materials are used for dental sealants:
- Glass ionomer
- Polyacid-modified resin
- Resin-modified glass ionomer
Dental sealants keep bits of food away from the uneven surface of the tooth. They also prevent bacteria and acid from settling on the surface of your teeth.
How Long Do Dental Sealants Last?
It depends on the patient. Generally, dental sealants can last for a decade. Dental sealants can last much longer if the patient maintains a good oral hygiene routine. Sometimes, they can wear off; however, they are easy to reapply. Once applied, dental sealants protect the tooth from 80% cavities for 2 years and 50% cavities for the next 4 years.
The Bottom Line
Dental sealants are not replacements for oral care. They are a way to shield your child’s tooth from decay. They can last for up to 10 years. It is still advisable to visit the dentist twice a year for regular checkups. Your child must also maintain a good oral hygiene routine to ensure their sealants have not chipped and that there is no other dental problem.