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Does My Child Need Dental Sealants?

Dr. Ben Brown | Kids Dentist Denver Tooth decay is the most widespread dental disease among children, including children in Colorado.  At Smiles 4 Kids we can help prevent or reduce the incidence of decay by applying sealants to your child’s teeth.

What Are Dental Sealants for Kids?

Dental sealants are thin coating that is applied to the grooves on the chewing surfaces of the back teeth to protect them from tooth decay. Sealants act as a barrier to prevent cavities and protect the chewing surfaces, where most tooth decay in children and teens occur, by keeping germs and food particles out of these grooves.

Sealants can be clear, white, or slightly tinted, and usually are not seen when a child talks or smiles. The process of applying sealants is short and easy. It does not require drilling or removing the tooth’s structure.

Although thorough brushing and flossing help remove food particles and plaque from smooth surfaces of teeth, toothbrush bristles cannot reach all the way into the depressions and grooves to extract food and plaque. Sealants protect these vulnerable areas by “sealing out” plaque and food.

Who Should Have Dental Sealants?

Because of the likelihood of developing decay in the depressions and grooves of the premolars and molars, children and teenagers are candidates for sealants.

In some cases, dental sealants may also be appropriate for baby teeth. Because baby teeth play such an important role in holding the correct spacing for permanent teeth, it’s important to keep these teeth healthy so they are not lost too early. If your child’s baby teeth have deep depressions and grooves, consult with your dentist at Smiles 4 Kids.

Why is sealing a tooth better than waiting for decay and filling the cavity?

Sealants protect teeth while decay damages teeth permanently. Not only do sealants save time and money, they also prevent the discomfort sometimes associated with dental fillings.

Do sealants replace fluoride for cavity protection?

No. Sealants, fluorides, and regular brushing work together to prevent tooth decay. Fluorides help to prevent tooth decay, but in a different way. Sealants keep germs and food particles out of the grooves by covering them with a safe plastic coating.

When Should Sealants Be Applied?

Sealants are typically used on permanent molars. It is best if the sealant is applied soon after the teeth have erupted, before they have a chance to decay. This usually occurs when a child is about 6 years of age for primary molars. Secondary molars tend to appear around 12 years of age.

During your child’s 6-month preventative appointments, their dentist will check the condition of the sealants and reapply them when necessary. A sealant typically lasts several years. At Smiles 4 Kids we are always happy to answer any questions you might have about your child’s dental health. Please give us a call for more information.