Applying a dental sealant is a good way to protect your child’s teeth. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), dental sealants can prevent up to 80 percent of cavities on the back teeth, which is where nine in 10 of all cavities occur. If you’re thinking of getting a dental sealants procedure for your child, there are a few important things to know.
Here are some of the most important facts and tips regarding dental sealant so that you and your child will be prepared for your visit.
What is Dental Sealant?
Dental sealant is a thin coating that is placed over the biting surface of your child’s molars. This sealant helps to protect the teeth from decay and cavities.
Most dental sealant is applied using a white or clear resin liquid that goes directly onto the surface of your child’s molars using a small brush. Once applied, the liquid bonds to the teeth and then it’s dried using a blue LED light.
After the sealant has “cured” it creates a strong layer of protection. This simple, non-invasive procedure is completely painless and does not require the use of anesthesia or numbing agents.
Since the sealants bond to the tooth, there is also nothing that goes inside the tooth compared to a filling. The medical grade resin is similar to the composite that is commonly used to fill cavities. However, the thin layer and method of application create a light, protective cover for the teeth that you can’t see with the naked eye.
How and Why a Dental Sealants Procedure Works
You might wonder how a dental sealants procedure actually works. The special sealant covers the chewing surfaces of the back teeth to help prevent food particles, germs, and plaque from affecting the teeth.
This sealant forms a protective shield over the grooves in the molars (or back teeth), making it much easier for your child to keep their back teeth clean. The sealant also protects the teeth from food particles and sugar, two common causes of cavities. This protective sealant also shields the teeth from harmful bacteria.
The grooves in the molars are extremely vulnerable to germs and bacteria that can accumulate when food (especially sugar) gets trapped in them. And while brushing regularly can help, getting deep into those grooves can be a challenge, especially for children. Applying a sealant gives your child a bit of extra protection and it gives you peace of mind.
Dental Sealant Benefits
As a parent, you probably want to know more about the benefits of this simple procedure. Ultimately, the sealant will help prevent tooth decay and cavities for your child.
Dental sealants are considered a preventative procedure since they protect the teeth and help to prevent cavities. Some studies have shown that children without dental sealant were up to three times more likely to have cavities than children who had the sealant applied.
Not only will this simple coating protect your kid’s teeth, but it will also protect your wallet. Filling cavities or removing teeth is much more costly than a standard dental sealant procedure. It’s important to note that the sealant will wear down over time, but it’s easy to get a new layer applied if you choose to do so.
What to Expect
Now that you know more about what dental sealant is and what the benefits are, it’s time to dive into how the process works. The entire process is fast and painless, and there is no drilling or numbing required.
Here are the general steps that your child’s dentist will take to apply the sealant.
- Your child’s teeth will be cleaned with a polishing brush and a gritty pumice toothpaste
- The teeth will be dried and isolated from saliva from the tongue and cheeks with a small cotton roll or cheek shield
- An etching solution is applied to the tooth’s surface to help disinfect and prep the tooth so the sealant can adhere
- The etching solution is rinsed off, and the teeth are dried again
- A thin bonding layer is applied to the teeth, followed by the sealant directly onto the surface over the enamel
- An LED blue light is used to “cure” the sealant and allows for faster application
Once the dental sealant is applied and cured, the appointment is officially completed. Overall, it takes just one minute to seal each tooth, so the entire process is extremely quick. In most cases, your child will be able to eat and drink right afterward.
More Important Facts
Most dental sealants should last anywhere from three to five years, but they may last up to 10 years in some cases. Your dentist will check the condition of the sealants during your child’s regular dental appointments.
If the sealant is damaged or worn, it’s very easy to replace or repair. How long they last may depend on how well your child maintains their teeth during this time.
Most dental insurance plans should cover dental sealants for children. Be sure to check with your specific insurance provider to confirm that it’s covered and to find out how much it will cost you.
Protect Your Child’s Teeth with Dental Sealant
Now that you know more about the dental sealants procedure, you can feel confident about your kid’s dental health. This quick and painless procedure is a great way to protect your child’s teeth for years to come.
If you’re interested in dental sealant or another of our dental services, be sure to contact us today with any questions or to schedule an appointment.