I work as a clerical assistant in a pediatric dental office, and I am commonly surprised by the number of children who are scared of the dentist. Many kids think that cleanings will be painful, and they believe they will be scolded for eating sugary foods. Children are also extremely frightful of the noises made by the water spraying tools and the suction devices. As adults, we know that dental cleanings are easy and free of pain. We need to impart this knowledge to our children so they know not to fear the dentist. I have provided blogs that will help you speak with your child about dental care. Good communication, trips to your own dentist, and online videos can assist you. So will good brushing techniques that will make your child proud to see the dentist. Enjoy my articles so you can help your child build oral care confidence.
Teaching your child good oral hygiene habits, like brushing and flossing, is the main way of preventing cavities, but your pediatric dentist can perform a procedure to give him or her some extra protection. Dental sealants level out the chewing surface of your child's molars and premolars, making it easier for him or her to fully clean those teeth. This reduces the risk of cavities caused by bacteria hiding in the hard-to-reach pits of the molars. Here's what dental sealants are and how they protect your child's teeth.
What Are Dental Sealants?
A dental sealant is a plastic resin that coats the chewing surface of your child's molars and premolars. It makes the surface of the tooth level by filling in its pits. The sealant acts as a physical barrier to decay-causing bacteria, keeping them out of the pit. All bacteria will remain on the surface of the tooth. Young children sometimes have difficulty fully cleaning their molars and premolars while brushing, so keeping all the bacteria on the tooth surface makes it easier for them to do a thorough job keeping their teeth clean.
Why Are Dental Sealants Recommended for Children?
Children are the perfect candidates for sealants because dental sealants are a preventive measure. They significantly reduce the chance that your child will develop cavities in his or her molars and premolars, as they make it easier for your child to clean them. Since cavities often lead to damaging complications such as tooth abscesses, dental sealants can prevent more serious and more expensive dental problems from occurring throughout your child's life.
When Should Children Get Dental Sealants?
Children should get dental sealants when their adult molars and premolars have erupted. The first molar usually erupts around the age of 6, the second molar and both premolars erupt around 11, and the third molar erupts around the age of 20. As your child ages, you'll need to continue making appointments with a pediatric dentist to seal your child's adult teeth as they erupt.
How Long Do Dental Sealants Last?
Dental sealants are very durable and can last for up to a decade, but their lifespan depends on your child's habits. Brushing with a hard-bristled toothbrush or frequently eating hard foods, such as nuts or candy, will wear down the sealants more quickly or cause them to chip. If your child grinds his or her teeth at night, this also causes the dental sealants to wear down faster.
It's important to take your child for regular cleanings and checkups for good oral health in general, but it's especially important if your child has dental sealants. The sealants will be examined at each checkup to ensure there are no cracks or chips in the material. Chipped dental sealants can contribute to tooth decay, as bacteria can hide in the cracks or under the sealant material. This makes the bacteria nearly impossible to remove by brushing.
If you've just learned about dental sealants and your child hasn't had them put in, don't worry. No matter your child's age, he or she can always benefit from the cavity-protecting effects of dental sealants. Contact a pediatric dentist to schedule a dental sealing appointment for your child to seriously reduce his or her risk of cavities.