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What are Dental Sealants?

Dental sealants are a type of protection for teeth that are particularly vulnerable to decay. While adults sometimes get dental sealants, they’re far more common in pediatric patients. Most children who get dental sealants have them only on certain teeth — usually, this would include all of the teeth in the back of the mouth. However, if a child has serious tooth decay at a young age the pediatric dentist might recommend dental sealants for the entire mouth. It’s a case by case treatment that all depends on the needs of your child.

The Dental Sealant Application Process

While your dentist applies dental sealant, your child will simply lay back and relax in the chair. There’s no pain or even discomfort during this process, and our dentists are very skilled at helping set your child’s mind at ease during the treatment. The sealant application process is very simple and will typically last no longer than a typical dental appointment — usually around an hour or so.

Your child’s teeth are cleaned thoroughly, and then a gel is painted onto them. This gel helps the teeth accept and retain the sealant resin better. After the gel is completely dry, the dental sealant resin is painted directly atop it. The sealant is then allowed to dry, and in some cases, your dentist will use a curing light to help the sealant set into place. After that, your child can return home and go back to their normal day — there are usually no restrictions to worry about.

The Effectiveness of Dental Sealants

Dental sealants are so effective because they completely protect and cover the teeth. Sealants protect even the very small fissures in the teeth — the ones that are normally prime areas for bacteria and decay. Dental sealants are a very powerful tooth decay deterrent for children, as kids are often not terribly diligent brushers.

While your child has a dental sealant, the odds of them developing new cavities in the treated teeth is extremely low. However, it’s important to remember that your child still needs to brush and floss normally. Although the treated teeth may have extra protection against decay, the gums do not. Regular brushing and flossing is very important in the prevention of gum disease, so make sure that your child follows through with their oral health care routine every day after they get a sealant.

The Right Age for Dental Sealant

In most cases, children won’t get dental sealant until their permanent molars emerge. This usually happens sometime before the age of 12 but could happen later in some cases. Although it’s not as common, some younger children may need a dental sealant if they have considerable tooth decay early in life. Your dentist will determine the optimal time to apply dental sealant based on your child’s specific individual needs.

Dental Sealant Longevity

Dental sealant longevity can vary based on several different factors. The child’s oral health routine, their age when the sealant is applied, and their growth while wearing the sealant can all play a role in its longevity. In the majority of cases, dental sealants last for 5-10 years in children. Usually, by the time that the dental sealant wears off, it’s no longer needed.

There are a few ways to maximize the longevity of a dental sealant. Make sure that your child practices good oral hygiene every day, encourage them to eat a low sugar healthy diet, and take them for their dental cleanings twice a year as scheduled to make sure that your child’s dental sealant lasts for as long as possible.

At Pediatric Dentistry of Central Florida, we put kids first. The safety and comfort of our young patients is our number one concern at all times, no matter what type of procedure or treatment they’re receiving. Pediatric Dentistry of Central Florida provides check-ups, treatment for tooth decay, dental sealants, orthodontic care, crowns, space maintenance, help with pacifier habits/thumb sucking habits, lip tie laser revision, tongue tie laser revision, emergency dental care, and much more. We’re proud to be a one-stop dental care provider for your child. Contact us anytime to arrange a visit!

 

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