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Do Your Kids Need Sealants? Everything You Need to Know

A child at the dentist

The risk of cavities is a concern for many parents. Despite best efforts for strict brushing and flossing routines on a nightly basis, cavities can still occur. This can be due to poor brushing technique or getting off-routine for an extended period of time, such as on a trip or when your child leaves for sleepaway camp. To put these anxieties to rest, many parents opt in for sealants for their children’s teeth. 

What are sealants?

Sealants are coating for your child’s teeth. They’re made of composite resin, and applied thinly to the tooth’s surface. They’re nearly invisible to the naked eye, and they only take about 45 minutes to apply. Think of sealants as an invisible armor that protects each tooth from decay.

Why are sealants recommended? 

Sealants are highly recommended as a preventative measure against cavities. In fact, the American Dental Association reported that sealants on permanent molars reduce the risk of cavities by up to 80 percent. Sealants are particularly important for these permanent molars: because these are your children’s “adult teeth” and they’ll have them forever, their health is imperative. 

However, we do recommend sealants as soon as the age of six. Because children are most likely to get cavities between the ages of 6-14, preventative sealant measures are wise. Even cavities on your children’s baby teeth can cause irreversible damage to their oral health.

Additionally, molars have many grooves and ridges that can make them tricky to clean. So, even a valiant brushing effort can miss microscopic bacteria or food debris hiding within the ridges. Sealants ensure that the bacteria doesn’t end up on the teeth in the first place, so that this isn’t a concern. The brushing and flossing regimen does not change, but sealants add an additional element of security and protection.

The sealant application process

The entire process only takes less than 45 minutes.

  1. One of our highly trained dentists will do a comprehensive cleaning and oral exam. 
  2. Then, they will dry each tooth with an absorbent material to prepare for sealant application. 
  3. The dentist applies an acidic solution that roughens up the chewing surfaces, which allows for more effective bonding of the sealant to each tooth.
  4. Then, this solution is rinsed off, and the drying occurs again. 
  5. Finally, a thin layer of the sealant is painted on each tooth, encasing it in protection. 

Sealants dry instantly, and last up to ten years. A consistent and thorough brushing and flossing routine will protect the longevity of these sealants. While they are undeniably effective in protecting teeth from decay, they are not a one-and-done oral health solution, which means brushing and flossing must continue at a regular and consistent pace. 

To learn more about the sealant process or schedule an appointment, call our Yorktown office at 914-200-1185.

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