How Dental Sealants Protect Your Child’s Smile from Cavities

August 3, 2020 Grandville Dental Health Center

protect your child's smile with dental sealants Grandville MI

Did you know that cavities are one of the most common chronic childhood diseases in the United States? Nearly 20% of children ages five to 11 have at least one untreated cavity, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Thankfully, dental sealants can protect your child’s smile.

The Importance of Preventing Cavities

Untreated cavities affect more than just our oral health, especially for children. Toothaches caused by cavities can lead to problems with eating, speaking, sleeping, playing, and learning. In fact, studies have shown that children with poor oral health end up missing more school and getting lower grades than children with healthy smiles.

Thankfully, cavities aren’t just treatable — they’re preventable. In addition to a good oral hygiene routine, our pediatric dentists may recommend dental sealants for your child.

What Are Dental Sealants?

Our Grandville children’s dentists use dental sealants on patients’ molars. The sealant covers the chewing surface of your molars, eliminating deep pits and grooves where plaque can hide. 

Dental sealants can be used on patients of any age, but they are typically used on children ages six to 14. These are the years in which your child’s teeth are most vulnerable to cavities. It’s also when your child’s first and second molars come in (also known as your six-year and twelve-year molars).

How Does It Work?

Getting dental sealants is a fast, easy, noninvasive dental procedure. That means your child won’t have to receive any kind of anesthesia. In fact, the procedure is painless.

First, our children’s dentists will clean and dry your child’s teeth. Then, we’ll apply an acidic gel to rough up the chewing surfaces of your child’s molars. This will allow the dental sealant to bond strongly with your child’s tooth.

After we rinse away the acidic gel and dry your child’s teeth, we’ll then paint the dental sealant onto the chewing surface of your child’s molars. Finally, we’ll use a special curing light to harden the dental sealants, bonding them to your teeth and finishing the procedure.

Other Ways to Protect Your Child’s Smile

The good news about dental sealants is that they are incredibly effective. Studies have shown that applying dental sealants to back teeth can prevent 80% of cavities. However, you can’t rely on dental sealants alone to protect your child’s smile.

It’s important to teach your child good oral hygiene habits regardless of whether or not they get dental sealants. That way, they can develop a routine that will protect their smile throughout childhood and into adulthood.

At Grandville Dental Health Center, we recommend three simple habits for our patients:

  1. Brush for two minutes, twice a day
  2. Floss daily
  3. Get a professional teeth cleaning every six months

Although we recommend these habits for patients of all ages, six-month cleanings are especially important for our younger patients. This is because your child’s teeth are constantly changing and growing as they lose their baby teeth and develop adult teeth, including their permanent molars. The health of your child’s baby teeth can determine the health and placement of their adult teeth as they come in. 

With six-month cleanings, our children’s dentists can conduct an oral examination every time we see your child to check their progress and keep an eye on their development. That way, we can catch problems early and offer simple, effective solutions instead of more complicated (and more costly) tooth restorations.

Learn More About Dental Sealants

Our Grandville, MI, children’s dentists offer dental sealants as a way to protect your child’s smile from cavities. To learn more, call Grandville Dental Health Center today at (616) 531-0360, or contact us online to request an appointment.

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