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At What Age Does One Need Dental Sealants?

May 16, 2022
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Posted By: Jerger Pediatric Dentistry

Dental sealants in Decatur, IL, lower cavity risks in children and adults by creating a barrier between plaque and tartar and the protective tooth enamel.

When considering your child for dental sealants and other preventive measures, it’s more about their oral health profile than a particular age. For example, if your child is susceptible to tooth decay, their pediatric dentist will likely recommend a dental sealant.

What Is a Dental Cavity?

A dental cavity is an area of decay on the tooth that requires treatment from the dentist. Without treatment, the cavity grows, leading to pain and potential tooth loss.

It’s important to remember that tooth decay, even in a baby tooth, typically requires intervention from the dentist. In addition, losing baby teeth too soon has consequences, including language development issues, chewing problems, and early tooth loss can negatively impact adult tooth eruption.

The sooner we can treat the tooth decay, the less invasive the treatment and the more likely your child is to maintain the tooth.

How Is Tooth Decay Treated

Again, the smaller the cavity, the better because the dentist removes less enamel when a cavity is only emerging.

Your child’s dentist gently numbs the treatment area and removes the decay to treat tooth decay, leaving clean and healthy margins behind. We then fill the space with a composite resin material colored to look like your child’s teeth.

If your child presents with a large or deep cavity, the dentist may recommend a dental crown instead to preserve stability.

A dental crown is a customized restoration, hollow and able to fit over a treated tooth. It looks natural and provides protection when a tooth has been weakened by decay or other oral health issues.

How Can a Dental Sealant Help My Child?

Not every child will need dental sealants. However, if your child presents with cavities at most dental visits, the dentist will likely recommend this treatment. Because the sealants lock debris away from teeth, they act as a barrier to plaque and tartar, which form acids on the teeth and lead to areas of decay.

A dental sealant helps your child achieve a cavity-free smile.

How Do Dental Sealants in Decatur, IL Work?

When kids develop tooth decay, it is usually on the molars. These teeth have many grooves and nooks where bacteria can collect. It is also challenging to brush molars efficiently, especially when kids are young and only starting to brush independently.

Dental sealants are protective coatings applied to the molars—the grooves and nooks. This sealant hardens quickly, and your child is free to enjoy their next meal. Dental sealant placement is a painless and non-invasive treatment we complete during a single office visit.

Before sealing your child’s teeth, we ensure they are clean, healthy, and in excellent condition for treatment.

Dental sealants can last for many years, but sometimes they come off. Your dentist will check the integrity of the sealant during regular dental checkups. We can reapply as necessary.

Other Preventive Dentistry Measures

Dental sealants are excellent for patients who present with cavities. However, other preventive measures help your child maintain a healthy smile.

At-Home Oral Hygiene

We recommend assisting your child with toothbrushing until about age seven. However, age varies by child.

We suggest brushing after every meal or at least twice daily. When your child is old enough, a member of our team can also provide instructions and demonstrations on flossing.

It’s essential that your child spends time on each tooth and clears bacteria from the gum as well. A circular motion with a soft-bristled toothbrush is ideal for cleaning the teeth and gums.

Regular Dental Visits

Bringing your child to the dentist twice yearly allows us to diagnose cavities and other oral health concerns early. And regular teeth cleanings—when age-appropriate—can significantly lower your child’s risks for cavities and a whole host of oral health issues as they grow.  

Besides dental sealants, your dentist can also talk to you about fluoride treatments to strengthen your child’s tooth enamel.

And our team is always here to discuss nutrition and tips for healthy teeth!

Contact Your Child’s Pediatric Dentist in Decatur, IL

If you think your child might benefit from dental sealants or if you’re looking to establish pediatric dentistry in our area, we encourage you to reach out to a friendly team member today to get started.

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