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How Dental Sealants Prevent Kids Tooth Decay

dental chair and tools

Every parent wants to ensure that their child has a happy and healthy smile. However, no matter how much your child brushes and flosses regularly, there’s still the possibility that they can suffer from cavities. As a parent, how can you prevent tooth decay?

When it comes to preventing tooth decay, regular dental visits are essential, of course. Your child should be visiting the dentist every six months for a routine cleaning and exam. Often, during these exams, X-rays will be taken to give you a better picture of your child’s overall oral health. As you consult with the dentist at the end of each appointment, they will give you several suggestions to help your child take the best care of their teeth. As you have this discussion, they may bring up the need for dental sealants.

Dental sealants are one of the best ways to prevent cavities and overall tooth decay. However, the American Dental Association reports that only 43 percent of school-age children have them. Since so many parents are not familiar with sealants, they may not realize the overall benefits to young children.

What Are Dental Sealants?

No matter how diligent you are in aiding your child in brushing their teeth, it’s likely that bacteria and food will still stick in the crevices of their back teeth. The molars and bicuspids are especially vulnerable to attracting the buildup of bacteria and acid. As a result, over time, these back teeth can decay and result in cavities, as well as a host of other issues. Dental sealants are an effective method of how to prevent this type of tooth decay.

A dental sealant is a liquid plastic that is painted on the back teeth and that acts as a preventative barrier, keeping food and bacteria from lodging in the pits of the teeth. The procedure has been illustrated as a type of raincoat for the teeth; the sealant acts as an outer barrier to keep the harmful substances from lodging in the teeth, just as a raincoat is an outer barrier that keeps water off your clothes and body. Once the sealant has been applied, when your child eats, food will slide right off the teeth instead of lodging in the pits of the molars or bicuspids. You can immediately see the advantages of how this would prevent tooth decay.

What are the Benefits of Dental Sealants?

According to the Center for Disease Control, there is a multitude of benefits for school-age children who have dental sealants.

  • Children who have dental sealants on their back teeth are 80 percent less likely to have cavities for the next two years, and 50 percent less likely to have cavities for four years.
  • Because of this, sealants often eliminate the need for children to get fillings or crowns due to dental decay.
  • Sealants are much more cost-effective than having to deal with the financial issues that come with procedures related to tooth decay.

Because of the myriad of benefits that come from dental sealants, parents are urged to talk to their dentist about them once their child’s first molar breaks through. This is the best time to consult with them about how to prevent tooth decay.

child in dentist chair for sealant

What’s the Process to Get Dental Sealants?

Although a child may be initially nervous when dental sealants are mentioned to them, both parents and children should understand that the process of having dental sealants applied to the teeth is pain-free. Not only that, the procedure to apply sealants to the teeth is much simpler than having to deal with effects of tooth decay. Simply put, getting a sealant is much better than having to remove a tooth!

When it’s time for a dental sealant to be applied, the teeth are first thoroughly cleaned and dried. This ensures that a good bond can be made between tooth and sealant. Next, a special gel is applied to the teeth that will receive the sealant. This gel will rough up the enamel of the tooth, which will further create a secure attachment for the sealant on the teeth. After that, the sealant is carefully painted onto the teeth. Usually, the sealant is pink in color so the dentist can be sure they get into every crack and crevice. They don’t want to miss anything! Not to worry, though, because the sealant will dry clear once a special blue light is shined on it.

In all, when looking for methods of how to prevent tooth decay, utilizing a dental sealant is one of the most simple and effective. Your child will leave the dentist’s office happy and pain-free!

What Are the Side Effects of Dental Sealants?

Except for the rare cases of those who have allergic issues, there are no known side effects to dental sealants. In fact, most pediatric dentists report that they have never had a patient who experienced any issues with the application of their dental sealants. When you compare this with the issues that can arise when tooth decay has to be repaired, getting dental sealants is an easy choice.

Where Should I Get Dental Sealants?

Now that you understand how to prevent tooth decay, it’s important you visit a pediatric dentist you can trust. When it comes to dental sealants (as well as a host of other procedures), you can have faith in the kind people at Toothfairy Pediatric Dental.

Your child’s oral health is of the utmost importance, which is why the Toothfairy Pediatric Dental team works so hard to make sure your child’s teeth are always in pristine shape. When we say that we’re the best, don’t take our word for it. We were recently voted as the best dentist in the Reno area!

Visit us today at one of our locations in the greater Reno area. We accept most major dental insurances (including Medicaid), and we make the process of accepting new patients quick and easy. Contact us today so we can set up your child’s next appointment.