There’s nothing better than seeing your child’s smile light up the room, so it makes sense to do everything you can to help protect that grin for years to come. In addition to establishing a strong oral health routine at home and twice-yearly check-ups and cleaning at your family’s dentist, there’s another way protect against tooth decay – sealants!
Around your child’s sixth birthday, they will have their first set of adult molars come in, with their second set coming in around age 12. These teeth are very important to helping your child chew and eat, but because of their location in the back of the mouth, they can be difficult for kiddos to brush on their own. Dental sealants are a thin plastic coating that dentists apply over the first and second molars to fill in the grooves and pits and act as a barrier to keep food and decay out of hard-to-reach places.
Most importantly – sealants work. The American Dental Association found that having sealants reduces the risk of tooth decay by 80%! However, not many children have received this preventative treatment. The Center for Disease Control released a report in 2016 that found only 43% of children aged 6-11 have sealants on their teeth, and that their peers without sealants had three times as many cavities. Because tooth decay is the most common chronic disease of childhood, preventative measures go a long way to protecting your child’s ability to eat, speak, learn, and play.
Sealants also fall under the preventative category in your dental insurance, and as such, are often covered at 100% (typically up until age 14-16). And, if the fact that sealants work, are covered by most insurances, and keep your child safer from tooth decay weren’t enough to make you schedule an appointment with your child’s dentist right now – sealants are painless. (Don’t have dental insurance? Dental Depot offers serious discounts to self-pay patients in order to make this service accessible.)
The process of applying sealants to the teeth is simple and painless, making it one of the easiest dental visits for both you and your child! First, the tooth – or teeth – being sealed are cleaned and dried, so as not to trap any bacteria under the sealant. Next, an etching solution is applied to help the sealant stick to the tooth. The tooth is dried again and then the sealant is brushed onto the tooth and is cured with the help of a special light. It takes about a minute for the sealant to harden, and that’s it – tooth sealed! Easy, right?
Your child may notice the sealant for a few days, but it’s easy to forget the sealants are even there. And, because the sealants dry clear, your child’s dentist will still be able to note any changes or signs of trouble in the mouth. Most sealants last for years, giving your child plenty of extra time to master strong oral health habits.
What are you waiting for? Schedule your child’s appointment today to seal out decay and keep them smiling for years to come!