Tooth decay is one of the most common issues pediatric dentistry deals with. It is an oral problem that affects children and adults, but the former are more susceptible to it for several reasons.For starters, children have thinner layers of enamel which makes their baby teeth more vulnerable to decay. A child is also more…
When a Pediatric Dentist May Recommend Dental Sealants
Dental sealants for kids protect the chewing surface of the back teeth from cavities. These are the areas that are often most vulnerable to teeth decay in children, and sealants can help prevent the need for cavity fillings in the future, which are all too common among children. This review discusses situations when a pediatric dentist may recommend dental sealants for kids.
The role of dental sealants for kids and when they are recommended
While adults can also benefit from dental sealants to reduce the risk of cavities, they are most commonly used among children that still have their primary teeth. The following explains what dental sealants for kids are and when a pediatric dentist might recommend them for children.
What are dental sealants for kids?
Dental sealants are plastic coatings that are placed over the chewing surface of the back teeth (molars and premolars). These grooves are often the most vulnerable to cavities in children because they can accumulate sugar and other food particles and combine with bacteria to create acidic attacks that damage and destroy tooth enamel. As mentioned, sealants are commonly used for primary teeth in younger patients, which is why they are highly recommended by many pediatric dentists.
When might a pediatric dentist recommend dental sealants?
A pediatric dentist is likely to recommend dental sealants for most kids that still have healthy primary back teeth because dental sealants are a form of preventive care, so they are ideal for patients without cavities on their molars. For children that have cavities, a dental filling is likely the better solution.
What are the risks of not having dental sealants for kids?
As mentioned, the chewing surface of the back teeth can be highly vulnerable to tooth decay in children. If cavities develop, then it could cause uncomfortable symptoms. Cavities that are too severe may require the need for more invasive procedures as well, such as a baby root canal. If the tooth must be extracted due to a large cavity that cannot be adequately treated, then it could have an impact on the ideal development of the permanent teeth, leading to an increased risk of needing further care.
How long do dental sealants for kids last?
Dental sealants can last up to five years. While not the most durable form of dental treatment, they are not typically needed for a long time as children will eventually lose their primary teeth. In addition, dental sealants are typically affordable and often covered by dental insurance providers. Consequently, not only are dental sealants for kids often recommended, but adults can greatly benefit from dental sealant treatment in many instances, as well.
Additional treatments for childhood cavity prevention
Along with dental sealants, you can help protect your child’s teeth with routine dental cleanings, fluoride treatments, and a quality oral care routine and diet at home between visits with the pediatric dentist.
Routine dental cleanings
Routine dental cleanings are encouraged every four to six months. This is the case for children as well as adults. With routine cleanings, the pediatric dentist (or hygienist) can remove all plaque and bacteria that accumulates on the enamel surface.
Fluoride treatments are another great preventive treatment option. Fluoride is typically prescribed for children (and adults) that show signs of weakening enamel or have a higher risk of enamel erosion. Fluoride is a natural mineral that works well for strengthening the minerals that make up the enamel.
Quality oral care (and diet) between visits
A consistent and quality oral care routine is the best defense against cavities. By brushing two to three times a day, your child can keep teeth clean with strong enamel. Children under the age of six are not likely able to adequately brush their teeth on their own, so help from a parent is strongly advised.
Also, the fact is that kids love sweets. While having a cookie or candy once in a while certainly is not a cause for concern, it can help to limit the sugar consumption for your child as sugar can contribute to enamel damage.
The bottom line
If you are considering dental sealants for your kids, then we encourage you to contact our office by contacting our pediatric dentistry office and scheduling a visit with our pediatric dentist. We take pride in helping children of all ages by providing dental sealants and other forms of preventative and restorative dental care.
Check out what others are saying about our dental services on Yelp: Dental Sealants For Kids in Phoenix, AZ.
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