A Parent’s Guide to Dental Sealants for Kids

As a parent you may face issues or difficulties with your children’s teeth that you have not experienced yourself. A lot of parents may be unfamiliar with dental sealants and how they can benefit your child’s smile. Harrisburg Pediatric Dentistry explains what dental sealants are and how they are used to protect your children’s teeth.

What are dental sealants?

Dental sealants are a thin, protective plastic coating applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth. Because molars are the most susceptible for cavities, dental sealants are applied to the back teeth.

Why should my child get dental sealants?

There’s no substitute for a healthy, consistent dental hygiene routine. Your child should still be brushing twice a day and flossing every day. However, dental sealants are an extra precautionary measure for preventing tooth decay and cavities. This protective layer blocks food particles from getting stuck in the grooves of your child’s back teeth where bacteria can grow and cavities form. Dental sealants can reduce the risk of decay by nearly 80% in molars, according to the American Dental Association.  A study from the CDC reported school-age children without sealants have almost three times more cavities than children with sealants.

Do dental sealants hurt?

Not at all! Applying dental sealants to your child’s teeth is a quick and painless process. Following a dental cleaning, the dentist dries the teeth and then places an acidic gel on them one at a time. The gel is designed to help the sealant form a stronger bond with the tooth. The gel is rinsed off, the tooth is dried again, and the sealant is applied to the chewing surface of the molar. Then, the dentist will use an LED blue light for 20 to 60 seconds to harden and set the sealants. The process in total takes around 10 to 15 minutes.

If you have questions about dental sealants for your child, contact Harrisburg Pediatric Dentistry.

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