One important part of dental care for children is having sealants applied to their molars to prevent decay. Your pediatric dentist can give you specific recommendations for your child, but here are the answers to some common questions to get you started.
Dental Sealant FAQ
What are dental sealants?
A dental sealant is a thin coating applied to the chewing surfaces of a child's molars. They are semi-permanent, lasting about 10 years. During this time, they shield the teeth from bacteria, food debris, and subsequent decay or cavities.
Why are dental sealants needed?
Molars are naturally full of pits and crevices. These narrow openings can trap food, making them one of the most common places for cavities to start. The problem is often worse for children, who may not yet have the coordination and toothbrushing habits to clean their molars thoroughly.
How are dental sealants applied?
First, your kid's dentist will thoroughly clean and dry the surface of the tooth. Then they'll paint the area with an acid that etches the enamel, making it easier for the sealant material to grip and stay. The sealant polymer is brushed onto the chewing surface of the molar, filling up all the natural gaps in the tooth. Finally, the dentist will use a special light to cure the sealant.
What are the benefits of dental sealants?
According to the American Dental Association, cavities are up to 80% less likely in teeth that have received this dental care treatment. Applying it as soon as your child's permanent molars come in, starting around age 6, keeps these teeth healthy long-term and reduces the need for fillings, root canals, and tooth extractions. Also, it makes dental care easier for your child since the molars are smoother and food is less likely to get stuck in them.
If your child needs sealants or other dental care, visit Pedodontic Associates. With locations across Oahu and Maui, they have over 25 years of pediatric dental experience and received accreditation from the ADA, HAD, American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, and Better Business Bureau®. For their dedicated service, they were voted the “Best Dentists in Hawaii 2011” by Honolulu Magazine. To make an appointment, call their Honolulu office at (808) 735-1733, Aiea at (808) 487-7933, or Kahului at (808) 877-0066. You can also find patient forms on their website.