Dental sealants can help your child maintain great oral health.
We all want what is best for our children’s health. And taking care of their oral health is just as important as their overall health, especially since the mouth serves as the gateway to the rest of the body. Though brushing, flossing, and rinsing with a child-friendly mouthwash are critical strategies in keeping a mouth clean and healthy, sometimes it isn’t enough. Dental sealants are an excellent choice for parents who want an easy solution to help protect their children’s teeth from harmful tooth decay.
What are dental sealants?
Dental sealants are composed of a thin, plastic coating that your child’s dentist paints on the chewing surfaces of the teeth. In most cases, sealants are placed on the back teeth to help prevent tooth decay. The dental sealant bonds with the grooves and depressions in your child’s teeth, creating a protective shield over the enamel of each tooth.
Thorough brushing, which means twice a day for two minutes at a time with a soft-bristled toothbrush and flossing at least once per day before bed, can help remove pesky food particles and plaque from the smooth surfaces of the teeth. But even the most skilled toothbrushers can’t always get into the nooks and crannies of the back teeth to sufficiently remove food and plaque.
Dental sealants effectively protect those vulnerable areas in your child’s mouth, keeping that plaque from building up. Dental sealants are like a superhero with a mighty warrior’s shield, and what kid wouldn’t want their very own superhero working to protect their teeth?
Are dental sealants the same as fluoride varnish?
We get this question frequently from parents of young children who are seeking the best strategies to protect their children’s oral health. Dental sealants and fluoride varnish are not the same, but many dentists who specialize in children’s dentistry choose to treat children with both sealants and varnish rather than just one or the other.
Fluoride varnish is a thick liquid painted onto your child’s teeth. It dries quickly and strengthens dental enamel to help prevent tooth decay. Most dentists offer fun fluoride flavors that kids find appealing, making it a relatively simple and fast procedure.
Just like with the fluoride varnish, dental sealant application is quick, easy, and painless. When your child gets dental sealants, their teeth are cleaned, and a gel is applied to the chewing surface for a few seconds to prepare the teeth. Then, their dentist will rinse and dry the teeth before painting the sealant on the tooth.
Sealants require no needles or drills, and they can last many years, especially when your child practices good oral care at home and sees the dentist regularly. And to make things that much better, sealants are much less expensive and less invasive than a filling to treat a cavity.
Dental sealants are usually clear, white, or slightly tinted. In most cases, and especially since sealants are applied to the back teeth, you will not be able to see them when your child smiles or talks. After the sealants are on the teeth, your child may experience a bit of sensitivity. This usually lasts for only a few days, but if it persists for longer, it is recommended that you check in with your child’s dentist.
Further, your child will not experience any different sensations in or around their teeth after getting their sealants. As we said, sealants are like a superhero—invisible ones fighting to protect your children’s teeth behind the scenes!
Does my child need dental sealants?
All children, and adults too, are candidates for dental sealants. The team at Tomasik Family Dental in Bee Cave, Texas, recommends that dental sealants are given to children between six and 14 years of age. The molars tend to break through around age 6 and the second molars around age 12.
Dentists suggest sealing these molars as soon as they pop through the gums. With your child visiting the dentist every six months for a dental cleaning and oral examination, you can rest assured that the dentist will be keeping an eye on these teeth, and recommending sealants as soon as it makes sense for your child.
Want to know how to prevent cavities for your child?
If you are wondering the best ways to prevent cavities for your child, it really does start with a good oral care routine at home. Brushing, flossing, and rinsing with a child-safe mouthwash is really the most important strategy. Beyond that, helping your child select tooth-friendly snacks and serving healthy meals, along with regular visits to your kids’ dentist for the appropriate pediatric dental work are important too.
If your child is due for their next dental cleaning and oral examination, make sure to request an appointment. By staying on top of your child’s dental visits, we can help keep your child’s mouth healthy and keep those cavities away.