Dental Sealants: Are they right for your child?
If you have children, helping them maintain great oral health is probably high on your list of priorities. As a parent or carer, helping your children look after their teeth and gums is something that will benefit them throughout their lives and ensure they develop great dental hygiene from an early age.
During their oral health journey, your children may encounter a variety of dental treatments, with dental sealants being one of them. Dental sealants are a common preventative treatment carried out by our dentists here at The Practice.
What are dental sealants?
Dental sealants, or fissure sealants are thin protective coatings that fill in the pits and fissures in molar teeth where dental decay most often occurs. They are especially beneficial when applied to newly erupted adult molars. By creating a smoother surface, they make it easier to clean and prevent food and bacteria from accumulating in the fissures and pits. This added protection helps to safeguard the molars from decay and promotes better oral hygiene for kids.
Let’s look at the pros and cons of dental sealants:
- Significantly reduces the chance of cavities.
- Cheaper than filling cavities in the future.
- It’s a quick and painless procedure – no numbing or drilling.
- Can’t treat existing cavities.
- They don’t last forever.
- Rare chance cavities can go unnoticed – although they won’t grow any larger.
What’s the difference between dental sealants and dental fillings?
You may be wondering what is the difference between dental sealants and dental fillings. Sealants and fillings serve many different purposes, with sealants acting as a preventative measure before decay forms, and dental fillings replacing missing tooth structure after the decay has been removed from the tooth. Filling cavities can be much more complex, including anaesthesia, drilling and shaping of the tooth.
Are dental sealants right for your child?
Dental sealants are typically applied to adult molars and premolars – meaning for most children between the ages of 6 and 7 for molars, between 10 and 12 for premolars and 11 and 13 for second molars.
There are times when sealants are recommended for baby teeth, generally if there is a heightened risk of tooth decay. Some teenagers may also benefit from dental sealants if they are prone to tooth decay.
To determine if dental sealants are right for your child, you’ll need to consult your dentist. Every individual is different and your dentist can recommend the best preventative measures for your child.
How are dental sealants applied?
The first step is ensuring the tooth surface is clean and dry, then the sealant will be applied. The filling material will fill the fissure or groove and a specialised light will be used to set the material in place. The surface will be smooth to the touch and make it easier for your child to take care of their teeth by reducing the risk of food and bacteria getting stuck in hard-to-brush areas.
How long do dental sealants last?
If cared for properly, dental sealants can last up to 10 years. Proper care includes brushing twice a day for a minimum of two minutes and flossing regularly. We also recommend dental check-ups every six months.
Dental sealants at The Practice West End
Our South Brisbane dentists offer dental sealants as part of our everyday children’s dentistry offerings. With years of experience applying sealants, our dentists are fast and reliable and only use the highest-quality materials for dental sealants.
To learn more about dental sealants, or to book your child in for an appointment, contact us online or call 07 3733 3223.