As your child’s first teeth start to grow in, protecting them from tooth decay and cavities is of utmost importance. One of the easiest ways to protect your child’s teeth is by getting them sealants as quickly as possible.
As soon as your child gets their first baby teeth, pediatric dentists Staci Brunell, DMD, and Priyanka Patel, DMD, practicing at Yorktown Pediatric Dentistry in Yorktown Heights, New York, recommend sealants. Learn how sealants reduce your child’s risk of tooth decay.
Sealants are a protective coating that gets applied to the premolar and molar teeth. Your child can get sealants as soon as they start to develop their first set of molar teeth.
When your child eats with sealants, the sealants prevent any food from getting stuck in their teeth. Instead, the food remains above the sealants, unable to get into any deeper and hard-to-reach places.
The link between sealants and reducing tooth decay
Sealants can benefit anyone looking to reduce their teeth decay, but they’re especially helpful in younger children and teenagers learning to take care of their teeth. Research shows children with sealants have three times fewer cavities than children who never got sealants.
When your child has sealants, particles of food and other potentially harmful bacteria can’t get into the crevices of their molars, which is a difficult area to brush. This means your child is 80% less likely to get cavities the first two years they have sealants, and half as likely to get cavities for up to four years.
Sealants aren’t a replacement for getting regular dental cleanings and taking care of your child’s teeth carefully at home. But combined with other dental care, they help your child experience fewer cavities than they would otherwise.
When to get sealants
Our dentists recommend your child get sealants as soon as they start to get their first primary teeth. For most children, we suggest they get sealants by age 6, as children ages 6-14 are at a particularly high risk of getting cavities.
Once your child gets their second set of molars, which usually happens when they’re about 12, they should also get sealants applied to those. Sealants usually only need to be reapplied every 10 years but can be replaced more often if needed.
The process of getting sealants
It’s easy for your child to get sealants at Yorktown Pediatric Dentistry. This in-office procedure takes less than 45 minutes to complete.
The process of getting sealants is as follows:
- A full dental exam
- A teeth cleaning
- Drying the teeth receiving sealants with cotton or a similar material
- Placing an acid solution on each tooth getting a sealant
- Rinsing off the solution and drying the teeth again
- Applying a sealant layer
Once your child’s provider applies the sealant, the sealant dries very quickly. The sealants begin to work as soon as they dry.
After your child gets sealants, our providers check the sealants at every dental cleaning to ensure they’re still intact and not cracked or damaged. If they no longer appear to be working properly, we recommend replacing the sealants.
Sealants are an easy, painless way to dramatically reduce your child’s risk of tooth decay. To schedule an appointment to place dental sealants, contact us.