During your child’s dental checkup, the pediatric dentist tells you their first permanent molars have come in. The dentist then recommends getting dental sealants placed on these molars. They explain that a dental sealant is a thin layer of plastic that is painted onto the chewing surfaces of a back tooth. It blocks bacteria and food particles from accumulating on these surfaces.
But, as a concerned parent, you have questions about this treatment. Read on to get answers to common questions about dental sealants and to help you decide whether it’s right for your child.
What Are the Benefits of Dental Sealants?
Plenty of studies have proven the effectiveness of dental sealants, especially for children. About 80 percent of cavities occur on the molars and are prevented with dental sealants. This fast, easy, and painless procedure offers an extra barrier for these teeth against painful and damaging decay.
Can Sealants Be Applied to All Teeth?
No, sealants are intended to cover the back teeth, where the most grinding of food occurs. These teeth are especially vulnerable and susceptible to cavities, which is why they need more protection.
When Can My Child Get Sealants?
Pediatric dentists typically wait to place dental sealants until the permanent molars have started to erupt. The first set usually arrive around age 6, and the second set of molars erupt around age 12. When they have come through the gums, your dentist can apply dental sealants to protect these teeth.
Because each child is unique, it is important to have regular appointments so that your pediatric dentist can keep an eye out for these molars and place the sealants when the time is right.
What Do Sealants Look Like?
Understandably, you would be hesitant about putting something on your child’s teeth if it were obviously visible when they talk, laugh, or smile. However, dental sealants are either clear or tinted white, which means that they blend in with the natural color of the tooth. As a result, you shouldn’t be able to tell that the tooth has the sealant on it.
How Long Do Dental Sealants Last?
The lifespan of dental sealants can vary, depending on several factors. If your child takes good care of their teeth at home and continues to visit the dentist regularly, dental sealants can last for up to 10 years. They can, however, fall out with normal wear and tear, which is another reason why routine dental checkups are necessary.
When you understand more about dental sealants, moving forward with them becomes an easier choice to make. If you have other questions, feel free to contact your pediatric dentist. They will be more than happy to address your concerns!
About the Author
Dr. J. Patrick Bowman finds great satisfaction in helping a child smile with confidence. It’s the greatest reward in his job! After dental school and earning his master’s degree in biomedical science, he spent two more years specializing and training in pediatric dentistry. Dr. Patrick is also a father and understands the many concerns parents have. To ask him questions about dental sealants or any other dental topic, you can contact his practice, Wash Park Pediatric Dentistry, online or by calling the office at 720-419-3646.