Dental Sealants and Your Child’s Oral Health

Dental sealants protect teeth from bacteria and acid to reduce the risk of cavities and tooth sensitivity. They can easily be applied to your child’s teeth at your dental office in Park Ridge. Along with good oral hygiene at home and regular dental cleanings, sealants can play an important role in your child’s dental care. Should you consider sealants for your child? Here is what you need to know.

What exactly are dental sealants?

Sealants are thin pieces of plastic that are placed over the teeth. Dentists typically place sealants on the teeth in the back of the mouth, which are often difficult to brush and so are prone to decay. The sealants cover the grooves in the chewing surfaces of the teeth so bacteria and debris that can lead to plaque and tooth decay can’t take root. For kids, sealant can be applied as soon as the permanent molars are in place, which typically happens between the ages of six and 12. Sealants can be clear or white, or they may be tinted so that they match the color of the teeth.

What is the process?

Getting sealants is painless and doesn’t require any numbing. The dentist starts out by polishing the teeth that are to receive the sealants and then etching the surface to make the sealants bond more securely. Next, the sealants are placed using a small brush, and curing light bonds them to the surface of the teeth. Each tooth needs approximately 30 seconds of curing for the bond to hold. Lastly, the dentist will ensure that the sealant doesn’t affect the bite and will make adjustments if necessary. As soon as the sealant is hard, your child will be able to chew as normal.

What are the benefits?

Even with your most diligent oral hygiene efforts, your toothbrush can’t reach all of the areas of the chewing surfaces of your teeth, and for kids, it can be particularly difficult to reach the back teeth. Sealants offer protection from cavities that can help your child avoid dental problems now and in the future.

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