While we all know that brushing and flossing are the best ways to prevent cavities, there are other preventative measures we can take to help prevent plaque and leftover food from getting stuck in the nooks and crannies of your teeth.
Specifically, on your molars, the tooth’s chewing surface has divots that leftover food and cavity-causing bacteria like to hide. Over time, this can cause plaque build-up and decay, creating caries and the need for treatment.
When it comes to pediatric dentistry, preventive maintenance is key. Sealants can be an excellent tool in preventing the risk of decay. In fact, the American Dental Association (ADA) has reported that sealants have been shown to reduce the risk of decay by nearly 80% in molars!
So, What Are Dental Sealants?
You may hear your pediatric dentist refer to sealants as raincoats for your teeth. Sealants are like a tooth-colored “paint” that hardens to the tooth and blocks bacteria from reaching the cracks and crevices of the teeth.
Applying dental sealants is quick and easy! Your pediatric dentist or registered dental hygienist (RDH) will clean and dry the tooth’s surface, then place an acidic gel on the chewing surface. The gel will roughen the tooth’s surface so that a strong bond can come from between your tooth and the sealant. The gel will then be rinsed from the tooth, and the sealant applied. The sealant will be dried and hardened using a blue light.
When Can Dental Sealants Be Applied?
Sealants can be placed as soon as the molars have fully erupted, helping protect them from cavities from the start. As a preventative procedure, most insurance plans will cover sealants for dependents under a certain age.
Dental sealants can also be placed over cavities to help prevent further damage and decay. Sealants can last for several years before needing to be reapplied. Once placed on your child’s teeth, your pediatric dentist will continue to monitor the condition and recommend application if and when necessary.
Learn more about how sealants can protect your child’s dental health at their next cleaning and check-up! Don’t have an appointment scheduled? Make an appointment today!