Did you know that tooth decay is the most common chronic childhood illness? That’s right, it is even more common than asthma or diabetes! According to The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, almost 45% of children aged 2 to 11 have had at least one cavity. Sometimes despite your best efforts of instilling good oral health habits like brushing and flossing daily, your child’s teeth can still become damaged. The good news is that dental sealants can help protect their smile from tooth decay. Here are the five most common questions about this dental treatment.
#1. How Do Dental Sealants Work?
Dental sealants involve covering the chewing surfaces of molars and premolars with a thin, BPA-free, protective coating. By painting a sealant over the teeth, it protects them from bacteria, food particles, and acids from settling into the small pits and grooves of the teeth. It creates a barrier from these harmful substances and significantly lowers the risk of tooth decay.
#2. Who Can Get Dental Sealants?
While both children and adults can benefit from sealants, it’s generally best to receive the treatment in the younger years before tooth decay can begin to develop. By coating the molars with a protective seal, they are less likely to develop cavities. As a matter of fact, it’s estimated that dental sealants prevent more than 80% of cavities in permanent molars two years after the treatment.
#3. How Are Dental Sealants Applied?
The dental sealant process is quick and completely comfortable. The teeth are cleaned and dried before placing an acidic gel on them. This gel roughens the surface of the teeth, allowing for a stronger bond to form between the tooth and the sealant. After a few seconds, your dentist will rinse off the gel and dry the teeth. Next, the sealant is applied to the chewing surfaces of your child’s pearly whites. A special light is used to harden the material into place. The entire process takes just take a few minutes!
#4. How Long Do Dental Sealants Last?
Generally, sealants can last up to ten years before needing to be reapplied. During your little one’s biannual checkup, your dentist will check the condition of the sealant placed to ensure that it is still in good shape. They can determine when the next treatment should be to keep protecting your favorite little smile.
#5. Can Sealants Be Placed on Cavities?
If there is minor decay present on a tooth, a dental sealant is an option to prevent further damage. Since sealants are clear in color, your dental team will still be able to keep a close eye on the trouble spot to ensure that the decay doesn’t progress any further.
Keeping your child’s teeth whole and healthy is a top priority for you. By treating them with dental sealants, you can count on their growing smile to be protected and beautiful for years to come!
About the Author
Dr. Veronica Martinez and her team at Children’s Dental Specialty are eager to help your child have a happy, healthy smile throughout every stage of their childhood! She is a board-certified pediatric dentist and is an active member of several dental associations, such as the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. She offers a full range of services, including dental sealants as an easy, affordable, and painless way to protect your child’s smile from cavities. To schedule an appointment, contact her through her website or call (480) 282-6746.