Every parent knows that regular brushing and flossing is essential for clean, healthy teeth. But at Stellar Kids Dentistry in Mukilteo, Mill Creek, and Everett, Washington, our experienced dentists often find cavities in the small nooks and crannies that children struggle to reach.
The best oral hygiene practices aren’t always enough to prevent cavities in children. That’s why our team often recommends dental sealants for molars that are especially vulnerable to tooth decay. Molars are the asymmetrical teeth in the back of your mouth that you use to chew.
Because molars are uneven and difficult to reach when brushing and flossing, food particles and other debris can get trapped in the small crevices. Over time, this leftover bacteria causes cavities.
Dental sealants act as a protective barrier to keep your little one’s teeth healthy and strong. Still not sure what sealants are or why they matter? Let’s talk about the basics of dental sealants and how they prevent tooth decay.
What are dental sealants?
A dental sealant is a thin coating of plastic material that hardens once it dries. Once applied, the sealant provides a barrier between the affected tooth and any bacteria or food particles that try to pass through.
When food particles are trapped in between your child’s teeth, they release acids that can create tiny holes (cavities). With a sealant in place, this leftover debris can’t fester and cause tooth decay.
Sealants are perfect for your child’s chewing surfaces, including their back molars, which are difficult to clean with brushing and flossing alone. They’re almost completely translucent, so they blend in well with the natural color of your child’s teeth.
Who should get dental sealants?
Adults and children alike can benefit from dental sealants, but dentists recommend getting them as early as possible.
Your child’s first molars typically emerge around the age of 6, their second by the age of 12. The best way to protect their vulnerable molars is to come in for dental sealants as soon as they emerge. That way, their teeth remain healthy and cavity-free from an early age.
How are dental sealants applied?
Applying a dental sealant is a quick, simple, and painless process. First, your child’s dentist cleans and dries the affected tooth. Then, they apply an acidic gel that roughs up the tooth and helps the sealant adhere to it.
Finally, the dentist rinses the gel from the tooth and applies the sealant material to its chewing surface. They use a special blue light to harden the sealant, which starts acting as a protective barrier right away.
Are dental sealants worth it?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), school-age children without dental sealants have nearly three times more cavities than children who have them. Not only is this dangerous for your child’s oral health, it’s also costly in the long term.
Restorative treatments, such as dental fillings, crowns, and even bridges, are far more expensive than preventive dental sealants.
Dental sealants are a great way to keep your child’s teeth cavity-free. To learn more, call Stellar Kids Dentistry or schedule an appointment online today!