Some parents find it hard to get their children to brush and floss their teeth well even though it's vital to prevent cavity formation. In fact, cavities are the most common disease for children and are even more common than asthma among adolescents. One way you can help your child prevent cavities is by taking him or her to a pediatric dentist to get dental sealants.
What are Dental Sealants?
Sealants are thin coatings of resin that your dentist can apply to the chewing surfaces of teeth. These thin resins seal out bad bacteria so that your child's teeth are protected from decay.
How Do They Help?
Dental sealants aren't a cure-all for cavities; your child still needs to brush and floss. However, dental sealants do a great job of protecting enamel. According to the CDC, dental sealants can protect against about 80% of all cavities for the first two years after they are applied. Children that don't get sealants are more likely to get cavities in their molars than children who have sealants.
Dental sealants are helpful because they prevent more invasive procedures, like fillings. Your child will also avoid more costly restorative options, like crowns and bridges. You can pay as little as $30 for a tooth; this service could also be covered by dental insurance/Medicaid.
How Are They Applied?
It will only take a pediatric dentist about twenty to thirty minutes to apply sealants. Your child doesn't need local anesthetic for sealants to be applied, so it is a pain-free procedure. The dentist will clean your child's teeth and rinse and dry them thoroughly. They will then apply an etching agent so that the resin bonds more easily with the enamel. After the etching agent is applied, the teeth will be dried once more and the sealants will be applied into the pits and grooves of the teeth.
How Long Do Sealants Last?
How long sealants last depend on a lot of factors. For example, if your child grinds their teeth, then the sealants can break down sooner. If your child doesn't take care of their teeth, then bacteria can break down the sealants. If your child has sealants on baby teeth, then obviously they won't last as the adult teeth come in. However, sealants can last your child years—longer with good oral hygiene. If your dentist notices that the sealants are wearing down, then they can reapply resins to the enamel.
Contact a pediatric dentist today for more information about sealants.