As a parent, you have an unwavering concern for your little one’s health, especially dental health. Though you ensure your child follows routine dental care at home, there is an additional tool pediatric dentists use to combat tooth decay in children – dental sealants for kids.
What are dental sealants for kids?
The chewing surfaces of your child’s teeth are painted with tiny, plastic coatings known as dental sealants. Dental sealants are applied to the molars and premolars of permanent teeth as soon as they erupt to prevent cavities. Remember, they are not a replacement for regular brushing and flossing.
Dental sealants are risk-free. Sealants don’t go inside the tooth like a filling would because they are merely glued to your child’s tooth. Sealants are a fantastic non-invasive technique to safeguard your child’s teeth from cavities.
How early should your child get them?
Dental sealants are best for kids between the ages of six and fourteen. Your child’s first teeth should erupt at age 6, and their second molars should start to show around age 12. To prevent tooth decay, the best pediatric dentist in Dubai may advise sealing these teeth as soon as they erupt. In extreme circumstances, especially if the baby teeth have deep grooves or pitted areas, your dentist may even advise placing dental sealants over the baby teeth.
Many parents wonder if dental sealants are necessary since baby teeth will naturally fall out as permanent teeth erupt. The likelihood that your kid may get cavities is the main factor in determining whether or not to apply dental sealants to their primary teeth. Dental sealants are a good option if your kid consumes a lot of sweet foods and has many pits and crevices in their back teeth.
How are dental sealants for kids placed?
The American Dental Association (ADA) estimates that this shield cuts your child’s chance of developing cavities by 80%. Dental sealants are easily and quickly applied and don’t require any numbing or drilling. You can expect a comparatively quick and simple process:
- Your child will be asked to sit in the dentist’s chair
- Your dentist will use a polishing brush and pumice (grainy toothpaste) to clean the teeth that need to be sealed.
- With the use of a little cotton roll or “dry angle,” an intraoral cheek shield, the kids dentist in Dubai will dry the teeth and separate them from any saliva.
- To clean and prepare the tooth for improved sealant adherence, the dentist will then apply an etching solution to the surface of the tooth that will be sealed.
- Your child’s teeth will be dried again after rinsing off the etching solution.
- The dentist will paint a thin bonding layer directly onto the tooth’s surface, covering the enamel, followed by the sealant.
- The dentist will let the sealant “cure” by using an LED blue light. The sealant hardens and adheres to the tooth surface, allowing faster application.
The appointment for your child will end once the sealant has dried. It takes just one minute to seal one tooth. There are no restrictions; your child can immediately eat and drink and go back to school.
Signs your child needs Dental Sealants
Your child will benefit most from dental sealants if you get them put on before cavities form. Dental sealants are typically required in situations where:
- On the recently erupted permanent back teeth (molars), where there are little grooves and cracks.
- There are stains in the fissures and grooves
- One of the earliest permanent molars has fallen out
- Your child has special needs
- Decay that is severe in primary teeth
Consult the best pediatric dentist in Dubai to determine whether or not your child needs a dental sealant.
Benefits of Dental sealants
Dental sealants cover bacteria, food, and plaque from building up on the chewing surfaces of the back teeth. They essentially operate as a barrier over the molars’ grooves, making it simpler to maintain oral hygiene. One dentist appointment is all that’s required to complete the painless and secure application of sealants. If properly cared for, dental sealants for your child are intended to shield their teeth for at least 3-5 years and, in some cases, up to 10 years. The pediatric dentist will examine the sealants to make sure they are still in place and haven’t cracked or worn away during your child’s routine dental examinations. They can be rapidly and easily fixed if they are damaged.
It isn’t painful. It is non-invasive and doesn’t require the use of numbing drugs or anaesthesia. Another big benefit is that drilling is not necessary. They are also far less expensive than dental repairs.
Types of Dental sealants for kids
Resin-Based Sealants and Glass Ionomer Sealants are the two major kinds of dental sealants for kids.
Sealants made of composite resin are administered using a dental curing light. These sealants are made of a plastic material that matches the shade of your child’s natural teeth. Composite resin materials are durable and long-lasting cavity protectors. They last 5 to 10 years and have a greater retention rate than glass ionomers.
Glass ionomer sealants are typically only used by dentists on baby teeth. They undergo an acid-base reaction as they set on your child’s teeth. Additionally, they emit fluoride, which aids in long-term dental enamel strengthening. Glass ionomer sealants are particularly effective at lowering the risk of dental decay by up to 35% by releasing fluoride. Fluoride has antimicrobial qualities that support robust teeth maintenance.
Over time, glass ionomer sealants may begin to leak. By mineralizing dental enamel, the fluoride ions in glass ionomers continue to offer protection even after leaks. When the fluoride is gone, the enamel gets stronger and healthier. Materials made of glass ionomers also mimic the colour of healthy teeth.
Best practices to prevent cavities at home
- Encourage your child to clean their teeth thoroughly for two minutes using a soft-bristled toothbrush.
- Show your child how to brush their teeth – up, down, and sides. To clean the teeth effectively, use gentle, circular strokes.
- Make sure your youngster uses fluoride toothpaste as it helps in strengthening tooth enamel and preventing cavities. If your child is older than 3 years, use a pea-sized amount.
- Teach your child to floss between their teeth at least once a day. If they’re young, help them floss. This assists in the removal of plaque and food particles from regions where a toothbrush can’t reach.
- Limit your child’s intake of sugary foods, candy, and sodas. Sugar feeds germs in the mouth, which contributes to tooth decay. Encourage your child to opt for healthy options such as fruits, vegetables, and water. Yes, let them drink plenty of water!
- Take your child to the dentist for routine check-ups every six months to maintain good oral health. Regular checkups help your dentist detect any dental problems early.
- Encourage your child to rinse their mouth thoroughly with water – by swishing and swirling – after eating to remove food particles.
- Refrain from prolonged bottle feeding or sippy cup use, especially with sweet beverages such as milk or juice as these can result in “bottle rot” or tooth decay.
- By practising good dental hygiene, you can set a good example for your child. You and your child can brush and floss your teeth together to create a fun and regular family routine.
Talk to a dentist at the best pediatric dentistry in Dubai about your child’s individual dental needs.
About Dr. Yasmin Kottait: Having dedicated 16 years of her career to spreading smiles and imparting knowledge of oral hygiene to children, Dr. Yasmin is a renowned name and face in the field of Pediatric dentistry in Dubai. Her joyful personality and magical kid-whispering powers make dental appointments for kids an easy sail – and lots of fun, that they never miss a single dental appointment with her! Dr. Yasmin is also one of the few Autism friendly dentists in the region, with a diploma in Cognitive Based Hypnotherapy and IBCCES Autism certification.