A lot of managing your child’s health is looking at both the present and the future. You teach them good habits to help them for years to come while also making sure they get what they need in the moment. It’s why you might get them a flu shot while also doing immunizations.
This same balance applies to your child’s dental health. You teach them good brushing habits, but what can you do in the moment to protect your child’s teeth against cavities and decay?
The answer is sealants. These easy-to-apply barriers are strong and provide years of cavity-fighting power. Use this blog as a resource to learn all about sealants and why they’re an important part of your child’s oral health.
If you’re interested in seeing if your child could benefit from sealants, come see us at Dentistry for Children in Las Vegas and Henderson, Nevada. Maryam Sina, DDS, and the rest of our staff are dedicated to providing quality care that meets the individualized needs of every child.
Dr. Sina has over 25 years of experience working with children and is board-certified in pediatric dentistry.
What are sealants?
Sealants are made of a plastic resin that we paint onto the enamel of your child’s teeth. Sealants work much like a paint sealant; once applied, they act as a barrier between teeth and outside intruders like acid and bacteria.
Sealants bond to the pits and fissures found in molars — the places that brushing, flossing, and mouthwash may not be able to reach and clean.
How effective are sealants?
A 2016 CDC study found that sealants prevented 80% of cavities for two years after application. Over four years, that drops to 50%, but sealants can provide some amount of protection for up to 10 years.
If the percentages aren’t convincing enough, note that children without sealants have almost three times more cavities than those with sealed teeth.
Which teeth need sealants?
Sealants are recommended for molars — their depth and role in chewing make them a perfect place for cavity-causing bacteria to hide. Most sealants cover the chewing surfaces of the back teeth and any other deep fissures. They can be applied to both baby teeth and adult teeth.
How are sealants applied?
The application process is easy. The teeth are cleaned and dried. A thin roughening solution is then applied to make sure the sealant sticks. Liquid sealant is then placed on the tooth, where it dries in seconds. No other steps are needed.
Afterward, your child can immediately eat or drink. Their bite might feel slightly different after the sealant is placed, but this resolves naturally in a few days at most.
Sealants as part of tooth decay prevention
Sealants are a proven way to prevent decay and cavities. Despite this, they shouldn’t be the only thing keeping your children’s teeth healthy. Dr. Sina also recommends the following:
- Brush twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste
- Floss every day
- Limit sugary foods and drinks
- Supervise brushing until age 6 or 7
- Schedule regular dental visits
Give your child’s teeth the protection they need before cavities strike. Contact our Las Vegas or Henderson office today.