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Does My Child Need Dental Sealants?

Does My Child Need Dental Sealants?

Nobody wants a cavity. That’s why, as a parent, you do all you can to instill good oral hygiene habits in your child, like brushing, flossing, and (hopefully) avoiding sugary, sticky treats. But there’s one more thing you do to reduce your child’s risk of cavities: Ask your dentist about sealants.

Quick and painless, dental sealants are a great way to help your child enjoy healthy teeth (despite their less-than-ideal snacking habits). At Dr. Taylor’s Family Dental CenterMarvin Taylor, DDS, uses dental sealants to help his younger patients in Waterford, Michigan, avoid the drill-and-fill routine. Here’s why you should consider sealants for your child.

Dental sealants 101

Dental sealants are a brush-on treatment that’s applied to the chewing surfaces of your child’s teeth — typically the molars and premolars. The sealant material is like a clear, tough “plastic” material that flows on smoothly to coat the tooth surface and fill in any existing fissures.

Application takes just a few minutes, and there’s no special care afterward. Plus, they can be applied as often as needed to maintain that extra layer of protection. Many kids have sealants applied at their annual visit or every other year, depending on their needs.

Sealants are most effective when they’re applied to teeth that haven’t had a cavity or filling yet, so starting treatment early is best — ideally as soon as those first permanent teeth emerge. Feeling left out? No need — dental sealants can be used on adults, too.

Why your child needs sealants

Let’s face it: Most kids aren’t great brushes and flossers, especially when they’re younger. Plus, snacking on sugary foods or foods high in acids can wind up creating tiny cracks or fissures in the tooth surfaces. While these little cracks might not cause any symptoms initially, they provide plenty of room for decay-causing bacteria to take hold.

If your child is a tooth grinder or clencher, there’s another reason to worry: Grinding exerts a lot of pressure on your child’s teeth — up to 200 pounds per square inch. Over time, that’s a lot of wear-and-tear — and another reason why tiny fissures often form.

Applying sealants gives your child’s teeth an added layer of protection. That doesn’t mean that it’s OK to let oral hygiene habits slide or that you should ignore your child’s nighttime grinding habit (we have treatments for that). But it does mean that you can rest easy knowing you’ve taken that extra step to help avoid tooth decay.

Sealants: Painless protection for your child’s teeth

The benefits of sealants are numerous: By reducing your child’s risk of cavities, you also reduce their need for more office visits and more treatments. That means less stress for them, less stress for you, and less stress for your budget. Plus, by preserving your child’s healthy teeth, you’re setting the stage for better oral health during adulthood, too.

Sealants can be applied during your child’s next checkup visit. If you have questions before then or you’d like to schedule a sealant application right away, call 248-681-8100 or book an appointment online with Dr. Taylor today.

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