At our pediatric dentistry in Chattanooga, we often encounter parents who have never heard of dental sealants for children. Although they may sound a little bit strange, dental sealants are one of the easiest ways to prevent cavities in both children and adults, and have actually been shown to cut down on the risk of tooth decay in molars by approximately 80 percent.
Research from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) demonstrates that dental sealants are especially important for children ages 6 – 11. A recent report from the the group states that “school-age children without sealants have almost three times more cavities than children with sealants.”
What is dental sealant?
Let’s start with the basics. Dental sealant is a thin, protective coating that is applied to the surfaces of the teeth that do the chewing in order to prevent cavities and tooth decay. Sealant is typically applied to the back teeth (molars) that contain nooks and crannies that can be difficult to keep completely free of plaque — even with regular brushing and flossing. Dental sealant is an extra way to protect these more vulnerable areas of the mouth, as they create a protective seal to keep food and bacteria out of the teeth.
How do dental sealants for children work?
Mouth Healthy, from the American Dental Association, suggests thinking of sealants as “raincoats for your teeth.” This is because in the same way that a raincoat keeps you dry from rain, sealants protect your teeth by keeping out food particles that can cause tooth decay.
How are dental sealants applied?
Dental sealants for children can be applied at your local pediatric dental office in five easy steps.
Step 1: Your pediatric dentist cleans and examines teeth
The first step to applying dental sealants involves your dentist thoroughly cleaning and examining your child’s teeth.
Step 2: Your dental team dries the teeth
After this, your dentist or dental hygienist will dry your teeth and place cotton or an absorbent material in the area to keep it dry as the sealant is applied
Step 3: An acid solution is applied
Next, your dental team will put an acid solution on the teeth being sealed. This acid will roughen the area and help the sealant bond more firmly to the teeth.
Step 4: Your dentist rinses and dries the teeth
After this your child’s teeth will be rinsed and dried again by your dental team.
Step 5: Sealant is applied
The final step in the process involves placing the sealant material on the surface of the tooth used for biting. Your dentist will then place a special light above the area to help harden the sealant.
As you can see, getting dental sealants is a quick and painless procedure that will greatly reduce your child’s risk of tooth decay and cavities. If you are looking for a children’s dentist in Chattanooga or the surrounding areas, our experience team can answer any questions that you have about dental sealants for children. Give us a call today!