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Are Sealants Necessary?

Are Sealants Necessary?

Cavities are extremely common. About half of kids ages 6–8 have at least one cavity in their baby teeth. The issue only gets bigger once adult teeth come in. Roughly 57% of kids and teens ages 12–19 have a cavity.

As a parent, you want to protect your children against common health risks, including cavities. Sealants allow you to do precisely that. 

With this hard protective coating on top of their molars, Irene Zaki, DDS, and our team provide a critical layer of protection. Plus, sealants are quick and completely painless for your child, and we offer them right here at Happy Teeth Children’s Dentistry in Riverside, California.

That said, sealants aren’t strictly necessary. Plenty of children enjoy good oral health without them. To help you decide if they’re right for your child, we can explore this type of preventive dental treatment in more detail. 

The basics of sealants

Molars are the hardest to reach with a toothbrush and have lots of little grooves, perfect for collecting bacteria. That’s why decay most commonly occurs in the back of the mouth. 

Dr. Zaki offers sealants to significantly lower your child’s risk of getting cavities in their molars. With this treatment, she places the sealant on the top surface of your child’s molar, where it settles into all the grooves. She then uses blue light to harden it in place. Once finished, your child has a smooth surface on top of the molar, making it easier to clean the tooth.

Placing the sealant is quick and completely painless for your child.

The sealant wears down over time, but it gives your child several years of cavity protection. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that sealants protect against 80% of cavities for the first two years and continue to offer 50% protection for four years. 

What the American Dental Association (ADA) recommends

Based on an extensive systematic review, the ADA recommends sealants for primary and permanent molars in children and adolescents.

As part of that review, the ADA examined a potential risk with sealants: exposure to bisphenol A (BPA). However, it found that the level of exposure was extremely low and limited to just a few hours immediately following the sealant placement. The ADA concluded that “there is no health concern relative to BPA exposure from any dental material.”

As a result, many parents decide that the oral health benefits of sealants far outweigh the minimal risks.

If you’re unsure if sealants are suitable for your child, don’t hesitate to talk to our team. We can help you understand the treatment process and how the sealants work while answering any questions. 

To further explore this preventive dental care option — or to schedule an appointment for your child to get sealants — call us at Happy Teeth Children’s Dentistry or book your visit online today.

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