According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), dental decay is still the most common chronic disease among US children. Preventing cavities in your child is the best way to help them obtain a healthy dental future. The problems and expenses that arise due to tooth decay can stay with a child for a lifetime. One of the easiest ways to prevent cavities is the use of sealants.
Dental sealants are a thin plastic material, usually clear or shaded, that are applied to the deep grooves or pits of teeth to prevent cavities.
Even with thorough brushing and flossing, it may be impossible to clean the tiny grooves and pits on certain teeth. Food and bacteria build up in these grooves and pits, placing your child at risk for cavities. Sealants act as a barrier to “seal out” food and plaque, thus reducing the risk of cavities.
Usually, the flow of saliva keeps the smooth surfaces of teeth clean but cannot wash out the grooves and pits. The teeth most at risk of decay,and most in need of sealants, are the six-year and twelve-year molars. However, any tooth with grooves or pits such as baby molars or other adult teeth, may benefit from the protection of sealants.
Sealants can last for many years if properly cared for. Your child will be protected throughout the most cavity-prone years. Sealants will last longer if your child has good oral hygiene and avoids biting hard objects. Dr. Michelle will check the sealants during routine dental visits and recommend re-application or repair when necessary.
The application of a sealant is quick and comfortable. The tooth is cleaned, conditioned and then the sealant is flowed into the grooves and pits of the tooth. The sealant is hardened with a special light. Your child will be able to eat right after the appointment.
Sealants provide your child with valuable decay protection and cost less than fillings. Many dental insurance companies cover sealants. Some companies, however, have age and specific tooth limitations. Check with your insurance provider about your child’s coverage and talk to our team about the exact cost of sealants for your child.
Sealants are just one part of the plan to keep your child cavity-free for a lifetime. Brushing, flossing, a healthy diet and regular dental visits are still essential to a healthy smile.