Significance of Dental Sealants in Pediatric Dentistry

Significance of Dental Sealants in Pediatric Dentistry

May 01, 2020

Caring for the health of your child should go beyond getting them vaccinated. Over time, you must employ different tactics to ensure that the overall health of your child is top-notch. While at it, it is important to remember to care for their dentition. Dental health for children is often overlooked, while there is an entire specialty in dentistry dedicated to children’s dental health. There is a lot that your child can benefit from pediatric dentistry. It is why our dentists at Kids First Dental emphasize on sensitization amongst adults, to ensure children are getting the care they deserve. Today we explore the place of tooth sealants in the general health of children’s oral cavities.

What Are Dental Sealants?

They are thin plastic-like coatings that are used to cover the chewing surfaces of teeth. The sealants are used in preventive dentistry, to protect the natural teeth structures of teeth. Usually, they are used for the back teeth, which covers wisdom teeth, molars, and premolars. The primary function of dental sealants is to protect teeth from dental cavities, hence, preventing dental decay.

More often than not, sealants are used in pediatric dentistry. Dental sealants for kids are primarily because children are more prone to dental cavities and decay than adults are. Granted, children are not very disciplined when it comes to taking care of their teeth. Sealant for kids’ teeth is, therefore, a protective shield that helps protect the enamel of their teeth.

How Do Dental Sealants Work?

The plastic-like coatings are applied to the chewing surfaces of teeth only. The idea is to cover the pits and depressions of teeth. Technically, these pits increase the risk of plaque getting caught up. Even with thorough teeth brushing, you cannot be sure that you have removed all the food residue from the depressions in your back teeth. Therefore, if you allow the food residues to sit in for too long, you create a conducive environment for plaque to build-up in these areas. This explains why the back teeth are the most prone to dental decay.

Application of Dental Sealants

This is an easy procedure. The dentist will first examine your teeth to check for any existing cavities. It is important to detect any tooth that has already started decaying. The last thing you want is to have a decayed tooth sealed. This only means that the bacteria and infection already activated in the tooth will progress the decay process. The steps involved in the application of sealants is as follows:

  1. Dental cleaning – your teeth have to be professionally cleaned. This gets rid of any plaque and tartar in your teeth. Therefore, when the sealant is applied, your teeth are free from harmful bacteria that could cause dental decay.
  2. Tooth drying – the target teeth are dried completely before the application. Usually, a cotton pad or any other absorbent material is placed over the teeth to keep them dry.
  3. Roughening – an acidic solution is put on the chewing surfaces of the target teeth. This acid is to roughen the surfaces, in readiness for the sealant. This promotes better bonding of the coating to the enamel of teeth.
  4. Rinsing and drying of teeth.
  5. Application – the sealant material is applied to teeth and allowed to dry. The curing process can be speeded up with a special light.

Who Needs Dental Sealants?

At Greenwood, SC, our dentists emphasize on the importance of dental sealants, particularly for children, during their cavity-prone ages. These cover the ages of between 6-14 years. However, even adults can benefit from dental sealants. It is why we also offer sealants for sensitive teeth. Overall, dental sealants are useful for permanent back teeth. Children can get sealants even on their milk teeth, for the sole purpose of protecting them from dental decay.

Do Sealants Last Forever?

Unfortunately, sealants are not built to last a lifetime. One application should protect your teeth for up to 10 years or more, depending on how well you care for your teeth. However, regular dental visits are necessary. On these visits, your dentist can reapply another layer of the coating as necessary.

Even then, you shouldn’t have much trouble getting dental sealants for your child. Ideally, the cost of sealants is covered by insurance companies. This, however, mostly applies to people under the age of 18 years. Therefore, you have no excuse for allowing your child to suffer dental decay.

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