Benefits of Dental Sealants for Children
Dental sealants are a treatment for children’s teeth designed to be applied on the chewing surfaces of teeth to protect teeth by preventing cavities from forming. The sealant is a thin, plastic coating made of biocompatible acrylic usually painted on the back teeth – premolars and molars. It quickly bonds into the depressions and grooves of the teeth, forming a protective shield over the enamel of each tooth. Teeth have recesses on their biting surfaces; the back teeth have fissures or grooves and some front teeth have pits. Food debris and bacteria get stuck in these depressions making the teeth highly susceptible to tooth decay. These teeth are also hard to reach for cleaning; tooth brushing is not always enough to keep them clean.
Dental sealants are mainly used in children who are at higher risk of tooth decay, and are usually placed as soon as the adult molar teeth come through. Once applied, sealants protect against 80% of cavities for 2 years and continue to protect against 50% of cavities for up to 4 years. Children aged 6 to 11 years without sealants have almost three times more first molar cavities than children with sealants.
Having sealants is Good for Oral Health
It’s a simple and quick procedure, it is not expensive, and is quite accessible – it can be applied by a dentist, dental hygienist, or other qualified dental professional. This can be done in dental offices or using portable dental equipment in community settings like a school. However, given its benefits, the treatment is still underused.
Sealant use increased by about 75% among low-income children and remained at about 43% among higher-income children from 1999–2004 to 2011–2016. Less than half of children aged 6 to 11 years have dental sealants. Low-income children are 15% less likely to get sealants and twice as likely to have untreated cavities.
Dental Sealants for Children at Overlake Dental
If you are considering dental sealants for your child, come over to Overlake Dental in Bellevue and let’s talk more about ensuring a healthy future for your child’s oral health.