Ask any parent, and they will tell you that taking care of a child's oral health is no easy job. You need to come up with creative ways to make them brush their teeth every day, go to the dentist, and eat healthy and nutritious foods.
Parents may have one more trick up their sleeves when it comes to tooth decay prevention: dental sealants.
But are they safe?
To answer this question, it's important to understand what dental sealants are, how they work, and when your child may need them.
What Are Dental Sealants?
Dental sealants are a thin, tooth-colored coating applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth. This coating works as a barrier that prevents food particles from getting stuck in the narrow grooves and pits of the teeth and lead to bacteria growth. Simply put, dental sealants offer an extra layer of protection against cavities.
Dental sealants are typically applied to the back teeth, such as the molars and premolars. That's because these teeth have deeper groves, are harder to clean, and more likely to develop decay.
When Are Dental Sealants Necessary?
Dental sealants are usually recommended for children and teenagers since they are at the highest risk of developing tooth decay. As we said, the grooves on their back teeth are often too deep or too narrow and difficult to clean effectively. By applying a dental sealant, the dentist can fill in these areas and protect the teeth from decay.
Dental sealants may also be recommended for adults who are at an increased risk for tooth decay. For example, if you have a history of tooth decay, suffer from dry mouth, or struggle to maintain good oral hygiene, your dentist may suggest dental sealants.
Are Dental Sealants Safe?
Yes, dental sealants are considered safe. The plastic they are made from is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and doesn't contain any harmful chemicals. They are also not known to cause any allergic reactions.
However, some people have reported that the sealants can chip or wear out in time, allowing bacteria to penetrate the teeth. In some rare cases, the sealants can also cause tooth sensitivity or irritation.
It is important to note that these side effects are rare and can be avoided by following your dentist's instructions for proper oral hygiene and maintenance. Regular dental checkups can also help to ensure that the sealants are in good condition and continue to protect your teeth.
Another concern people have (and parents especially) is that the process of applying dental sealants may be painful or uncomfortable. That's not really true. If your child is getting sealants, know that the procedure is very quick and simple. The dentist will apply the sealant using a brush and then garden it with UV light.
Keep in mind that dental sealants are not permanent and will need to be replaced every few years.
Should Your Child Get Sealants?
The only way to answer this question is by scheduling an appointment with Dr. Julie at Marshfield Pediatric Dentistry.
Get in touch with us online and we will get back to you as soon as possible.