What Are Dental Sealants? Does My Child Need them?
By: Dr. Peter, owner and pediatric dentist at VK Pediatric Dentistry in Arlington, VA
Parents and dentists have one thing in common and that’s wanting healthy and happy children! Protecting and caring for your child’s teeth is extremely important. One of the most effective ways to reduce cavities and protect teeth is through proper placement of dental sealants. Sealants are typically placed on your child’s first and second permanent molars (also known as the 6-year and 12-year molars).
What are Sealants?
Sealants are a thin coating material that is applied to the occlusal or biting surface of teeth (usually molars but sometimes premolars as well). This coating helps seal the surface of the tooth and prevents food from getting stuck in the grooves of your child’s teeth. Without sealants, grooves are often one of the first places cavities form due to the sticky nature of a lot of foods kids love (ie, the foods Dr. Peter tells you to avoid!!). According to the CDC, sealants protect against 80% of cavities on the molar occlusal surfaces if applied properly. School aged children without sealants are three times more likely to have cavities than children with sealants.
Who can place sealants?
Although sealants can be applied by most dental providers, we strongly recommend a visit to your pediatric dentist for sealants on your children. Sealants are very technique sensitive and proper sealant placement can last and be protective for years. Although the actual placement is relatively quick, the importance of proper isolation and good technique cannot be stressed enough. Poorly placed sealants can lead to an increase of cavities and often act as a food trap and often fail early.
The most important reason for getting sealants is to avoid tooth decay. Fluoride in toothpaste and in drinking water protects the smooth surfaces of teeth but the posterior teeth need extra protection. Sealants cover the chewing surfaces of the back teeth and keep out germs and food.
VK Pediatric Dentistry
5001 Lee Hwy, Arlington VA 22207