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Do Dental Sealants for Kids Really Work?

When your little one grins at you, you fall in love with them all over again. That smile is everything, but what steps are you taking to protect it?

The reality is that children can start developing cavities even before kindergarten. Proper brushing and flossing help, but dental sealants for kids add one more layer of protection. Dental sealants are plastic coatings designed to prevent cavities.

Here’s what you need to know about the benefits of dental sealants and how they work.

What Are Dental Sealants for Kids?

Dental sealants are plastic materials that are applied to the chewing surfaces of a child’s permanent rear teeth, the premolars and molars. The purpose of these coverings is to protect your child’s teeth from the acids and bacteria that cause tooth decay.

Teeth, particularly the back ones, have natural fissures and pits that help with grinding up food during chewing. Unfortunately, bacteria and food particles can become caught in them, and even great brushing cannot always remove these particles. Fortunately, this is where dental sealants for kids help out.

A dental sealant is made of a liquid resin—a plastic, clear paint that becomes hard upon drying. Your child’s dentist can paint the resin onto their back teeth to fill in the teeth’s tiny crevasses. The coating then creates a powerful shield that is capable of keeping out decay.

Benefits of Dental Sealants for Kids

Your child’s dentist may recommend sealants for your child for several reasons. For starters, as mentioned earlier, sealants can keep their teeth fissures particle-free and, in turn, decay-free. Second, if your child isn’t exactly great at brushing the back teeth (not many children are), sealants can make up for this, therefore giving you peace of mind. And third, a sealant is hardly noticeable when applied to a tooth.

Children begin to get their adult molars at about age 6, so this is generally a good time for them to receive sealants. However, if your child is younger than 6 years old, your dentist may still recommend sealants for them if they are cavity prone. 

However, dental sealants aren’t just for kids. Adults who are susceptible to developing cavities might also benefit from getting these plastic coatings on their molars.

Do Sealants Actually Work?

Yes. Both the Centers for Disease Control and the American Dental Association recommend dental sealants due to their many benefits. According to these organizations, dental sealants are proven to reduce cavities in children, so they are a wise investment for parents and guardians.

A young boy smiling with eyes closed

Cost of Dental Sealants for Kids

Sealants generally cost about $40 for each tooth. The great news is that some dental insurers cover this type of treatment. 

Even if dental sealants aren’t covered under your dental insurance plan, the multiple benefits of dental sealants make them worth the cost.

Consider that an out-of-pocket payment for a filling can easily run around $200. If your child needs several cavities treated at one time, this can quickly add up. In this situation, a single sealant application would have been a more financially feasible solution—one with a great return on your investment. 

Risks of Dental Sealants for Kids

One dental sealant risk to consider as you explore this treatment option for your child is the fact that sealants might contain bisphenol A, or BPA. This synthetic compound is present in many plastic materials, but researchers have highlighted that being exposed to sizable amounts of it may be harmful.

Because a sealant is made from plastic, it could contain trace BPA amounts. For this reason, some parents may view them as unsafe. However, if there is any BPA in a sealant, it is usually a very tiny amount—an amount well below what would be harmful. You might come across more BPA while running your daily errands than you would through sealants. So, if you choose sealants for your child, you can be confident that the presence of BPA in them likely won’t pose a major problem for them.

Additional Sealant Risks

Yet another concern regarding sealants is that they could seal in decay if they are inadvertently applied over cavities. Although this could happen, it is quite rare. An experienced dentist will take the necessary steps to prevent this. For example, you can expect your child’s dentist to thoroughly examine and clean your child’s teeth, as well as treat any existing cavities before placing sealants on their back teeth.

You might also be tempted to bypass dental sealants for kids because they last for only 5-10 years on average. However, sealants may last longer in some patients. Your child’s dentist will evaluate your child’s sealants during their six-month appointments and tell you when they might need replacing.  

dentist looking in boy’s mouth

Protect Your Children’s Teeth with Dental Sealants for Kids at Definitive Dental

At Definitive Dental, we are known for dentistry done right. Given the benefits of dental sealants, we take pride in offering dental sealants along with dental exams and cleanings, fillings, and other essential dental care services, like dental crowns.

We make it our mission to genuinely listen to our patients and protect their best interests. When you partner with us, you can be sure that we will compassionately and competently guide you and your family to complete oral health.
Ready to take your smile to new heights? Get in touch with us to learn more about our services, and be sure to schedule an appointment for dental sealants for your kids today!

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