Getting your child to conscientiously brush their teeth on a regular basis is a great way to prevent tooth decay and cavities. However, there is an even better option: Dental sealants.
If you don’t know much (or have never heard of) dental sealants you may be a bit apprehensive at first. However, that can be cleared up if you understand what they are and the benefits and risks that come with them.
“What Are Dental Sealants?”
To put it simply dental sealants are a thin coating that is applied to the surface of teeth. It acts as a ‘raincoat’ and will protect teeth from bacteria and acid that end up causing tooth decay.
Although both children and adults can have sealants applied to their teeth, it is most often recommended for children when they get their first molars at around 6 or 7, and second molars at around 12 or 13.
The application of dental sealants itself is completely painless. All that the dentist will do is clean the surface of your child’s tooth and dry it, then apply an acidic gel for a few seconds. Once the gel is rinsed out, the sealant will be placed on the tooth and a blue light will be used to harden it.
Benefits of Dental Sealants
As you can imagine the main benefit of dental sealants is the fact that it provides a layer of protection to safeguard against tooth decay. With the sealant in place, your child’s teeth will not be exposed to bacteria and acid that could erode the enamel over time.
On top of that if you apply sealants to your child’s molars it will make it less likely for food to get stuck in the grooves of the teeth. Seeing as many children have trouble cleaning their molars effectively, this is a good move to ensure that fewer bacteria forms in their mouth.
If necessary sealants can be applied on top of an existing cavity as well in order to prevent it from decaying further. Because it looks clear, it will not impede the dentist from continuing to keep tabs on the cavity.
Risks of Dental Sealants
Although some doubts have surfaced over dental sealants over the years, overall they can be regarded as close to risk-free.
The main concern that people have about dental sealants is the fact that they contain a synthetic estrogen known as bisphenol A (BPA). However as much as that is true, the fact of the matter is that the amount of BPA in dental sealants is extremely low and will not cause any harm.
To be honest your child will be exposed to more BPA simply by breathing air than by having a dental sealant applied.
At the end of the day, the only risk that you really need to be aware of is that the sealant could make the bite feel abnormal at first. That is something that your child should get used to very quickly, however.
Suffice to say dental sealants can definitely help to improve your child’s dental health – so you should look into it further. If you have any doubts you can consult dentists in Bristol or near your location to clear them up.
Keep in mind that not all healthcare plans will cover dental sealants, so you may want to take that into account before you make a final decision. At the end of the day however, they are an investment that is definitely worthwhile – and will save you from potential costs that will be incurred if your child actually ends up with a cavity.