Helpful Pediatric Dentistry Tips!

Dental Sealants & Your Child

by Dr. Steven Whittemore | Published August 16, 2019

One of the best ways to fight against cavities is to utilize dental sealants in cavity-prone areas of the mouth. Sealants are an easy and convenient way to take extra precautions to protect your childs teeth from cavities by providing a layer of defense against tooth decay. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), children aged 6 to 11 years without sealants have almost three times more first molar cavities than children with sealants. Discover how dental sealants might be a good option for your child. 

What are Dental Sealants? 

Acting as a barrier to cavity-prone areas, sealants act as a first line of defense against potential cavities. You can think of sealants as band-aids used to patch areas in the mouth to prevent food particles that produce acid from developing into cavities. Once the sealant has been applied, it will be much harder for bacteria and acid to from into cavities leading to healthier teeth in the future.  

Are Sealants Safe for Kids? 

Yes! Both children and adults can benefit from sealants to promote oral health and prevent cavities in the future. For children, it’s best to have sealants placed as soon as their permanent molars come in, usually around the ages from 6 to 12 years old. Being proactive about preventing cavities is especially important for young children because their teeth are more vulnerable to cavities. Sealing the molars as soon as they form will help prevent cavities from forming at an early age and save time and money down the line.

How are Sealants Applied?

For kids scared of going to the dentist, it’s important to communicate to your child that getting a sealant placed on a tooth will be a relatively fast and painless trip to the dentist. The procedure usually takes around an hour and requires only a few steps before your child is fitted with a protective sealant. First, the tooth will be cleaned, dried and coated with a special gel to prepare for the sealant. Then, the sealant will be placed on the tooth and tinted to match the color of the tooth to ensure it goes unnoticed. 

How Effective are Sealants? 

After they are applied, sealants can last up to 10 years with regular checkups during routine dental appointments. The CDC reports that once sealants are applied, they protect against 80 percent of cavities for the first two years and continue to protect against 50 percent of cavities for up to the next four years. Further proving that sealants are a great option for children as a line of defense against cavities when matched with regular brushing and flossing. 

Maintaining Oral Health with Sealants 

Maintaining a healthy oral health routine is the best way to prevent cavities from forming. Making sure your child is brushing, flossing and keeping up with regular visits to the dentist are important steps to take in preventing cavities. But even with regular brushing and flossing, there are areas where plaque can build  up and form cavities. Giving your teeth an extra layer of protection, in the form of sealants, is a great way to ensure your child has a happy and healthy smile. Consult with your dentist about the best plan of action for your child. 

We’re Here to Help

At Pediatric Dentistry, our Dentists have been serving the Des Moines and Ankeny for over 50 years. Schedule an appointment to see if a dental sealant might be a good fit for your child to prevent cavities in the future. If your child is a new patient, please fill out a patient history and consent form prior to your first visit. We look forward to seeing you.


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