Does Your Child Need Dental Sealants?
Caring for the health of your child’s teeth is one of the things that most parents take very seriously. However, despite their best efforts, they may not always succeed in getting it right. They may not be able to monitor how much sugar their child takes in school for example and so there is always the possibility that the child will have recurring cases of tooth decay. Dental sealants offer a possible way out of this problem, ensuring that your children’s teeth are protected and unlikely to suffer tooth decay.
What Are Dental Sealants
Children’s teeth often start to decay from the top and typically affect the back molars. This is because children’s teeth have grooves that trap food particles. These grooves are also very hard to clean and over time, bacteria begin to develop in these grooves. Sealants are thin materials made of clear plastic that are placed on the surface of these teeth. This sealant acts as a barrier between the tooth and bacteria, ensuring that tooth decay becomes unlikely. A second benefit of having this barrier is the fact that it allows the surface of the tooth to become smooth thus making it easier to clean in the future. Sealants can stay in place for around ten years meaning that your child’s teeth are protected for most of his or her early years. If your dentist observes any damage to the sealant such as during a routine exam, they can fix these patches imply by placing more dental sealant on the damaged area.
Which Teeth To Seal
Dentists often look for any teeth that have grooves or fissures. This is because these are the teeth that are likely to be affected by tooth decay. Baby molars are also a common target for dental sealants they are place holders for more permanent teeth. Losing them early can have an effect on the permanent teeth that develop in their place later in life. When it comes to permanent molars, experts suggest that they should be sealed as soon as they emerge. This is to prevent them from suffering any kind of decay that may cause them to become weak or damage them.
When To Seal
According to the American Dental Association, the first permanent molars in a child emerge when the child is about six years old. About six years later from that time, the child will develop their second set of molars. The ADA recommends that both these sets of molars should be sealed if the dentist observes that they have deep grooves that put them at risk of developing cavities.
The only exception to this rule is wisdom teeth which can be impacted by the fact that they often do not fit. Experts note that for about nine out of ten Americans, wisdom teeth often have to be removed while a child is still a young adult so as to prevent these teeth from causing trouble later in the child’s life. For this reason, most dentists will not recommend applying dental sealants to these teeth. The only exception to this rule is if the dentist determines that there is enough room in the child’s mouth for the wisdom teeth to fit.