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What Are Tooth Sealants and Are They Important?

young child in dentist chair

When children reach age six, they become eligible for dental sealants to further protect their teeth and smiles from tooth decay. Most children get their first molars around this age, which may also require some adjustments when brushing their teeth. Some children might forget to brush these new teeth and risk tooth decay.


According to the CDC, more than half of all children between ages six and eight have had cavities. Luckily, you can help prevent cavity formation and tooth decay early with sealants. Here is a closer look at this dental service and how your child can enjoy its benefits for years to come.


What Are Tooth Sealants?


Dental sealants are thin coatings that shield teeth against cavities. Cavity-causing bacteria hide in teeth’s hard-to-reach surfaces — particularly the molars. Moreover, toothbrush bristle designs are not enough to remove bacteria in these places, which explains why kid-friendly mouthwash is a common recommendation.


Getting these tooth coatings is a preventative care solution for clean and healthy teeth. It’s a fairly quick procedure, where a pediatric dentist will clean your child’s teeth before applying the sealant. Cleaning may involve some drilling that some kids might find scary, but we will help your child understand that the process is painless.


Why Do We Recommend Tooth Sealants for Kids?


Our pediatric dentists recommend dental sealants for tooth cavity prevention purposes. As your child grows more teeth, there are more potential areas for cavity formation. Considering children’s relationship with sugary treats, they may become even more prone to cavities and tooth decay.


Although regular brushing, mouthwash, and flossing are all important, taking that step of extra protection can surely add that additional sense that your child’s teeth are maximally protected. We recommend this method to give your child another layer of defense against dental problems, including cavities, tooth decay, and plaque buildup. Essentially, tooth sealants keep bacteria out and make it easier to maintain good dental hygiene.


How Long Do Tooth Sealants Last?


High-quality dental sealants for kids can last up to a decade. According to current American Dental Association facts, cavity formation among children and adolescents with tooth sealants reduced by 86% after one year and 58% after four years. These percentages may rise to 90% even after 10 years with appropriate follow-up care.


In addition, sealants may also extend beyond the expected lifespan if your child follows the best practices for maintaining good oral hygiene, like replacing their toothbrush when necessary, eating healthy food, drinking enough water, brushing teeth regularly, rinsing with mouthwash, and flossing.


Are Tooth Sealants Safe?


Dental sealants are safe and effective methods of preventing tooth diseases. The American Dental Association Council on Scientific Affairs recommends tooth sealants for protecting the primary and permanent molars of children and adolescents against cavities and tooth decay.


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration also recognizes the safety and benefits that tooth sealants offer children and adults. With these established organizations giving their position on this tooth-protection measure, we urge parents to highly consider getting sealants for their children.


What Long-term Benefits Do Tooth Sealants Offer?


Dental sealants can potentially last for your child’s lifetime if you get a dedicated pediatric dental professional to perform the procedure. Although some cases involve chipping, wearing, and falling, you will not have to worry about them if the right person applies the correct techniques.


Moreover, sealing teeth pits and fissures to protect them against decay also helps prevent associated conditions, such as tooth loss and infections. Tooth and gum infections from decay can further lead to pain, abscess formation, facial swelling, and fevers.


Most parents might agree that the benefit of protecting their children against dental diseases using this simple solution outweighs the risks of chipping sealant. Be sure to let an experienced pediatric dentist check your child’s condition to determine whether tooth sealant suits them.


Final Word: Protect Your Children’s Teeth Early With Professional Tooth Sealants


Tooth sealants are great solutions that reduce your children’s risk of cavities. The procedure is safe and effective with recognition from the ADA and FDA. It’s also a long-lasting solution. Our team at Bay Area Kids Dentists recommends sealants to help keep your kids’ teeth clean and healthy. Contact us to set an appointment today!