Pediatric Dental Sealants
Pediatric dental sealants are an important preventive measure designed to give your child’s smile every possible advantage. Many dentists recommend children get sealants on their teeth as soon as their permanent molars grow in to prevent decay from the beginning. It is essential to protect your child’s oral health early on and prevent problems that may trouble them later on.
What Are Pediatric Dental Sealants?
The “grooves,” or crevices and pits along the back molars are highly susceptible to germs and bacteria that build up when food particles, such as sugar, become trapped inside them. Regular brushing goes a long way, but even the most dedicated of brushers can struggle to clean those grooves properly.
A pediatric dental sealant is a thin white or clear resin liquid applied to the surface of a child’s molars with a small brush. This thin coating placed over the biting surface of the molars protects them from decay. The protective coating reduces a child’s risk of cavities by 80% according to the American Dental Association (ADA).
Are Pediatric Dental Sealants Safe?
Dental sealants are safe and pose minimal risk to children. They are a great non-invasive way to help protect your child’s teeth from cavities. No materials go inside the tooth as fillings do. Sealants are made of a medical grade resin. The materials are similar to the white filling material used when patients have cavities filled. The main difference is the sealant material; it’s runny in nature. Sealants are applied to teeth using a small brush to easily flow into the micro grooves of the teeth.
This non-invasive and painless procedure is quick and completed in one visit. The procedure starts by cleaning the teeth being sealed with a polishing brush and pumice (gritty toothpaste). Once the teeth have been dried, they are isolated from any saliva from the tongue and cheeks using a small cotton roll or triangular intraoral cheek shield called a “dry angle.” Then, an etching solution is applied to the surface of the teeth to disinfect and prep the tooth for better sealant adherence. The teeth are rinsed off and dried once again. A thin bonding layer is painted on the teeth, then the sealant is applied directly onto the surface of the teeth, covering the enamel. After that is complete, the teeth are “cured” or dried using an LED blue light. This allows for faster application because it hardens and bonds the sealant to the tooth surface.
This entire process only takes about one minute for each tooth needing to be sealed. There are also no restrictions following the procedure, patients can eat and drink right away and can return to school immediately after. Dental sealants for a child are designed to protect their teeth for a minimum of 3-5 years, with a maximum of 10 years if they are well maintained. During your child’s regular dental checkups, the dentist will check the sealants to ensure they are still in place and haven’t cracked or worn away. If they do get damaged, they can be easily repaired.