The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that 20% of all children between 5 and 11 years of age experience dental cavities and bacterial decay. Most parents rely on oral hygiene and dental cleanings to prevent dental cavities, and that’s definitely admirable. However, dental sealants can further minimize the risk of caries, especially in the molars.
Nova Children’s Dentistry is a state-of-the-art dental clinic that provides high-quality dental sealants to protect children from cavities. Dental sealants can simply be painted over the molars and premolars to cover up the grooves that often lead to caries. Please schedule an appointment at our dental offices in Ashburn and South Riding, VA, for more information.
What are dental sealants?
Dental sealants are thin antibacterial coatings painted on the back teeth, specifically the premolars and molars, to minimize the risk of cavities. The sealants act as shields that prevent germs and bacteria from entering the chewing surfaces and grooves on the molars, thereby minimizing the risk of dental decay. Studies have shown that sealants reduce the risk of cavities by 80% for 2 years and 50% for up to 4 years.
Who should get dental sealants?
Children and teenagers are the prime candidates for dental sealants because they have a high risk of developing dental cavities, especially in the molars. That’s because children have a strong affinity for sweets, fruity drinks, carbonated drinks, and other foods that increase bacterial activity on the teeth. And generally speaking, children aren’t as observant of oral hygiene as adults, making them more likely to develop cavities. As such, sealants can protect their baby or permanent teeth.
What happens during the dental sealants procedure?
- The dental hygienist thoroughly cleans the teeth to remove all the accumulated food particles, plaque, and tartar. This might involve brushing and flossing.
- Each tooth is dried, and an absorbent material or cotton ball is placed around the teeth to soak up moisture.
- The chewing surfaces of the molars and premolars are roughened with an acid solution. This is done to make the sealant adhere to the teeth.
- The teeth are rinsed and dried.
- The dentist paints the sealant material onto the enamel, allowing it to bond with your teeth.
- In some cases, a curing light might be used to harden the sealant.
How long do dental sealants last?
Dental sealants can continue protecting the teeth for up to 10 years, but their effectiveness gradually decreases with age. They stop up to 80% of all dental caries for the first 2 years, following which they stop up to 50% of caries for 4 years, and so on.
When can my child get dental sealants?
Dental sealants can be soon after the molars or premolars come in, usually around age 6.
Do dental sealants hurt?
The dental sealant procedure doesn’t hurt or cause any discomfort to the child. That’s because the sealant material is simply painted over the tooth and hardened with a curing light. It’s not at all invasive, and there’s no need for anesthesia.