Pediatric Dental Sealants: Protecting Children’s Smiles from Cavities

January 30, 2018 — by tbelnap
Tags: Dental Sealants General Dentistry Tooth Decay

Children smiling and laughingAt PQ Family Dentistry, we know that the needs of patients will vary from age group to age group. That’s why we tailor every treatment with the patient’s age in mind. From pediatric dentistry to dental care for senior citizens, we’ve got you covered at our Rancho Penasquitos, CA practice.

That said, all people need to worry about tooth decay no matter how old they are. For young patients, preventing cavities can be crucial for healthy smiles later in life. That’s why we might recommend your child get dental sealants placed.

What Are Dental Sealants?

The flat biting surfaces of teeth have grooves and fissures. When food particles get caught in these fissures, they can be difficult to remove. This makes tooth decay more likely.

Dental sealants refer to a transparent plastic resin that is applied to the biting surfaces of certain teeth. By sealing away these problem areas, you an protect these teeth from developing cavities.

Protecting Molars and Premolars from Tooth Decay

Dental sealants are commonly applied to the biting surfaces of the molars and premolars. In addition, dental sealants are usually applied to permanent teeth rather than baby teeth.

Open your mouth and look in the mirror. You’ll notice that the molars and premolars have a flat surface with fissures on them. These are the parts of teeth most vulnerable to decay, and that sealants can protect.

The Age Range for Pediatric Dental Sealants

Most pediatric dental sealants are placed between the ages of 6 and 14. During this age range, the permanent molars and premolars are emerging.

When Can Dental Sealants Be Placed?

Dental sealants can be placed once the biting surface of a tooth has emerged beyond the gumline. During a consultation, a pediatric dentist can determine if enough of the tooth has emerged to be treated with a sealant.

What Do Dental Sealants Feel Like?

Sealants don’t feel like anything. They don’t taste like anything either. They simply cover the biting surface of a tooth and that’s that.

Why Sealants Rather Than Fillings?

It’s important to keep as much of your natural tooth structure. Maintaining natural structure exposes less of the underlying structures of tooth to harm.

While fillings will rebuild the damaged structure of a tooth, it’s best to prevent tooth decay in the first place if and when possible.

The Procedure for Placing Dental Sealants

The procedure for placing dental sealants takes only a few minutes to perform. The steps are simple:

  • The teeth getting sealants are given a thorough cleaning and are then dried
  • A slightly acidic substance is applied to the biting surfaces of the teeth, creating a rough enamel surface that’s easier for the plastic resin to hold onto
  • The tooth is thoroughly rinsed and then dried once again
  • The dental sealant is painted right onto the biting surface of the tooth
  • The plastic resin may be exposed to a special light to ensure it is fully dried

How Long Will Dental Sealants Last?

Dental sealant treatments can last for up to 10 years, which is a long-term and effective means of cavity prevention. During regular dental visits every six months, a pediatric dentist can check for cracks in the sealant. Touch ups can be performed as needed to maintain the benefits of the sealant.

Learn More About Dental Sealants

For more information about pediatric dental sealants and other methods of protecting your child’s teeth from cavities, contact an experienced dentist for children today. The entire team here at PQ Family Dentistry will help your child get the treatment they need.