Does My Child Need Sealants?
At our Bridgeton dental office, we sometimes recommend sealants for children who are prone to cavities or who need a little extra protection for their back teeth. These noninvasive coatings “seal” the deep grooves that are on the surface of molars and prevent cavities from forming in the grooves.
When Are Sealants Recommended?
Once your child’s permanent molars come in, we’ll discuss whether sealants are a good idea. To decide whether molars are needed, we’ll consider several factors:
- How prone your child is to cavities
- How prone other members of your family are to cavities (since cavities often run in families)
- How skillful your child is at brushing his or her molars
- How deep the grooves are in your child’s molars
Do You Recommend Sealants for Every Child?
Most kids will benefit from sealants. In general, kids aren’t particularly skillful when it comes to brushing their teeth, particularly the teeth in the back. Don’t worry – this isn’t your child’s fault! At this stage of their development, this is partially due to not having all the coordination necessary to brush these teeth. Even with coordination, toothbrushes often can’t get into these deep grooves.
Other factors that play a role are an increasing need for independence (which makes your child less likely to accept help from you) and a lack of patience, a skill that often develops later in life.
Fortunately, sealants help to protect your child’s teeth until these skills are more fully developed. Sometimes, we recommend sealants for adults whose teeth are more prone to cavities or who have particularly deep grooves.
How Are Sealants Placed?
The procedure for placing sealants is simple. It’s quick and doesn’t require shots or anything else scary. All we do is paint the sealant on as a liquid and then cure it so that it bonds with the structure of the tooth.
Once the sealant is cured (which only takes minutes), your child can eat and drink normally. Nobody will even see the sealants unless they are actually looking for them. Your child may note that the surfaces of their molars feel a little different, but they will quickly get used to this and won’t even notice it anymore.
How Long Will My Child’s Sealants Last?
Sealants can actually last up to 10 years, but they can chip or wear down, so we’ll make a point of checking your child’s sealants at every appointment to make sure that they are in good shape. We’ll let you know if they need replacing.
Call Your Bridgeton MO Dental Office
If you have questions about sealants, don’t hesitate to give us a call. We’re happy to discuss your child’s needs and work with you to determine if sealants are appropriate.