Should My Child Get Sealants?

Dentists recommend that you have dental sealants applied to specific teeth, usually the back molars, in an effort to give your child maximum protection against cavities. Many parents are receptive to that idea until they see the price tag then they question whether or not dental sealants are needed.
If you are reluctant to get dental sealants for your child, we are here to help. We hope by learning more about dental sealants and who can benefit from them that you will be able to make a well-informed decision about whether or not to get them for your child.
Understanding More about Dental Sealants
Think of dental sealants as a thin plastic barrier that protects your child’s teeth from tooth decay. When your child eats, the food particles and bacteria that would have otherwise gotten stuck in the tiny grooves and depression of the teeth will sit on top of the plastic sealant coating. Since the food particles and bacteria don’t get stuck in the grooves and instead sits on top of the sealant, it makes it easier to remove with simple brushing and flossing.
While dental sealants do actively work to help prevent tooth decay and cavities, they don’t last forever. Dental sealants, when applied to permanent teeth, only last approximately 10 years. If your child has not experienced a cavity or tooth decay in that time, the sealant material can be reapplied and the teeth will continue to be protected.
Dental sealants may also need to be reapplied or repaired before 10 years if they become chipped or wear out. Dentists and dental hygienists will monitor your child’s dental sealants during every routine dental checkup. If any chips or damage is noticed, your dentists will recommend that the dental sealants be replaced before tooth decay forms or a cavity occurs underneath the sealants.
Who is a Good Candidate for Dental Sealants?
Even though dental sealants sound like a great dental service, only certain people are good candidates for this procedure. Good candidates for dental sealants tend to be children or teenagers who are not experiencing tooth decay or who do not have any cavities.
Do Dental Sealants Go on Baby Teeth or Permanent Teeth?
Dental sealants can be applied to both baby teeth and permanent teeth. In fact, many dentists recommend that you have dental sealants applied to your child’s baby pre-molars and molars, and then have the sealants reapplied when those teeth are replaced with permanent teeth.
It may seem odd to apply dental sealants to baby teeth as they will just fall out and be replaced with permanent teeth, but it can prove helpful. Putting dental sealants on baby teeth, especially the pre-molars and molars in the back of the mouth, can help prevent the spread of tooth decay.
Think of it this way. Your child won’t lose all of his or her baby teeth at one time. That means he or she will have a combination of permanent teeth and baby teeth. If wait until your child has all their permanent teeth, then tooth decay can form on any of the teeth and spread throughout the mouth – even to the permanent teeth. Once this happens, your child will be unable to get dental sealants.
Remember Sealants Aren’t Foolproof
Dental sealants do help protect your child’s teeth from cavities, but they aren’t foolproof. If your child fails to properly brush and floss, cavities will still occur regardless of if dental sealants have been placed on the teeth.
The Pediatric Dentistry of Central Florida can help your child learn how to properly brush and floss their teeth. Just schedule a regular, routine checkup for your child and our friendly dental hygienists will not only perform a professional cleaning, but they will check to make sure your child knows how to properly brush and floss.
Call the offices at Pediatric Dentistry of Central Florida to schedule an appointment for your child to have a routine dental examination and checkup. During this appointment you can discuss with our dentists whether or not your child is a good candidate for dental sealants.