Parents want what is best for their children and that often means looking for sound prevention methods, rather than reacting to urgent health needs.
When it comes to protecting your child’s healthy smile, dental sealants are a wise preventive choice in keeping tooth decay at bay and saving parents’ money. Sealants are about a third of the cost of filling a cavity, according to the Children’s Dental Health Project.
This is an important message to spread to families because even though tooth decay is largely preventable, it is still the most common chronic disease among children who are between ages 6 and 11, as well as adolescents ages 12 to 19, according to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry.
What are Dental Sealants?
Sealants are a thin, plastic coating that is applied to the chewing surfaces of children’s molars. The pits and fissures in children’s molars tend to be deep, which makes it easier for food particles to collect and lead to decay. Children sometimes have difficulty properly brushing these areas. Sealants provide a protective barrier for healthy teeth.
In 2016, the American Dental Association and American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry reviewed and updated clinical practice guidelines regarding dental sealants. They found that “children with sealants are up to 80 percent less prone to cavities compared to those without them,” a press release stated.
Who Needs Sealants?
This preventive approach to tooth decay is ideal for children and adolescents. Even adults whose molars are free of decay may opt for dental sealants.
We recommend having dental sealants applied to the permanent molars and premolars once they are fully erupted to provide adequate protection through those cavity-prone years.
How Long do Sealants Last?
Sealants can last for many years. It is important to maintain routine dental exams and teeth cleaning appointments when your children have dental sealants so they can be monitored to ensure they continue to provide optimum protection. If portions of the sealants have worn away over time, we can remove the remainder and reapply new sealant to the entire chewing surface if necessary.
It is important to keep in mind that sealants don’t last forever, and if they aren’t monitored and redone periodically, the very product designed to help protect your children’s teeth from decay can create a haven for it.
A Good Time for a Check-up
Summer is here, lots of students have graduated from high school, and many of them may be headed out of town or out of state for college in a month or so. This is an ideal time to schedule a dental check-up to make sure your graduates’ sealants are in good shape as they head off to college.
Please call today to schedule an appointment.
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