Pediatric Dental Sealants in Portland, Oregon
Tooth decay is a serious issue among children. By the time they reach third grade, more than half of children have cavities. The good news is cavities are preventable with the right dental care. Dental sealants are a standard, painless procedure used to help prevent tooth decay for kids.
At Fox Kids Dentistry & Orthodontics, we believe preventive measures are critical to preserving your child’s oral health. We offer many types of pediatric dental services designed to stop dental issues, such as tooth decay, before they worsen. Dental sealants for kids can protect your children’s teeth and reduce their chance of getting cavities.
Catching this problem early is critical for lifelong dental health. Children who have cavities in their baby teeth are more likely to develop them in their adult teeth. By decreasing your child’s risk of developing tooth decay, you set them up for healthier smiles down the road.
What Are Dental Sealants for Kids?
A dental sealant is a thin white or clear coating painted over the surfaces of the molar teeth to create a barrier between the tooth and any bacteria or plaque that might come near it. A dentist seals off the grooves of the teeth before the tooth gets a cavity, or even if the tooth is showing early signs of cavity development.
The sealant prevents further decay from occurring. When cavities get too big, children have to get a filling, which can be a long, stimulating, and often difficult procedure for a child. With the help of sealants, and by preventing the teeth from coming into contact with plaque that can build and damage the teeth, you set your child up for better dental health.
The American Dental Association recommends kids ages five to 14 receive dental sealants. Our pediatric dental team can apply dental sealants to baby teeth as well as the first set of permanent molars, which usually come in around ages five to seven. Teens can also benefit from dental sealants if they are prone to cavities.
Are Dental Sealants Safe for Kids?
Applying dental sealants may seem like a complex procedure, but the application process is quick, safe and simple. In fact, dental sealants are ideal for children whose adult teeth are just starting to erupt. Kids are some of the best candidates for dental sealants because of the deep grooves on their permanent molars are vulnerable to plaque retention.
When these teeth first come in, they are especially cavity-prone because of their deep indentations. It can be difficult for your child to brush this area, meaning that preventing cavities could be difficult, even if they give those teeth extra attention. Dental sealants can provide additional cavity protection beyond brushing and flossing to prevent cavities and avoid a painful dental experience for your child.
At What Age Are Dental Sealants Most Effective?
Dentists recommend dental sealants for children ages 5 to 14, meaning that they are entirely safe for kids. Some parents are skeptical of their safety because historically, older versions of dental sealants have been known to contain small amounts of Bisphenol A. However, modifications in materials have allowed for the creation of BPA-free dental sealants, which are solely used in our practice today.
At Fox Kids Dentistry & Orthodontics, we understand how to provide safe and effective sealants for your kid. We have experience at preventing children’s cavities, so we can make you and your child as comfortable as possible while reducing your child’s risk for cavities.
Are Sealants the Same as Fillings?
Both dental sealants and fillings may seem similar. However, there are critical differences between dental sealants and fillings. Some key points that distinguish these treatments are that:
- Sealants are preventive: While dental fillings are necessary to restore a tooth’s health after a cavity or hole caused decay, dental sealants protect teeth from cavities. Dentists place them in areas where cavities are more likely to occur, such as on the molars.
- Sealants are thin: Dental sealants are applied to the outside surface of permanent molars as a liquid (having a similar consistency as fingernail polish). The liquid is then hardened or “cured” using a LED blue light. Conversely, dental fillings go inside the tooth and are much bulkier. They are used to help restore a tooth after it has experienced a cavity.
- Sealants are temporary: Although dental sealants are an effective option for cavity prevention, they wear away with use. Dentists use them to seal molars, which are responsible for chewing large amounts of food. Generally speaking, dental sealants should last for about five years.
Why are Preventive Treatments Important?
Understanding the fundamental differences between dental sealants and fillings lets you feel more confident in dental sealants’ ability to improve your child’s teeth and prevent cavities. Since they last for an extended period, sealants will help your kid develop oral hygiene practices — such as brushing and flossing — that will prolong their dental health.
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Benefits of Dental Sealants for Children
Your children will enjoy many advantages from getting sealants, but you may appreciate the financial benefit the most! When you invest in preventive care, you reduce the likelihood of developing more severe issues — such as cavities, which are more expensive to fill. Many insurance plans cover the cost of dental sealants, too. Sealants also provide other benefits to your child, including:
- Protection for hard-to-reach spaces: The small grooves on the chewing surface of teeth are often difficult to brush and get completely clean. Dental sealants protect these spaces where kids’ brushes often can’t reach.
- Invisibility: No one can see dental sealants, so no one else will know your child has them. Most often, sealants are either white or clear.
- Longevity: Dental sealants can last for five to 10 years, so you won’t need to replace them often. One set can often carry a child to adulthood.
Choose Fox Kids Dentistry & Orthodontics for Your Next Appointment
Our office offers pediatric preventive dental services in Portland, Oregon. Our staff is trained to work with children, so we can provide a compassionate level of care that your kids might not see elsewhere. Complete our online form to schedule an appointment for your child or discuss dental sealants further, or give us a call at 503-223-5039.