If your child recently got their 6- or 12-year molars, your dentist may recommend applying sealants to the chewing surface of those molars to reduce the risk of cavities. Sealants are like a thin layer of plastic that the dentist paints onto the tooth to prevent food and saliva from coming into direct contact with it.
As with any dental procedure, you probably have a few questions you want answered before you agree to having sealants placed on your child’s teeth. Keep reading to have those questions and concerns addressed.
Are Sealants Really Necessary?
Many good dental care habits can reduce your child’s risk of cavities — brushing more thoroughly, avoiding sweets, and flossing, for example. So you may wonder if sealants are really important or effective provided your child already takes good care of their teeth. In most cases, they are.
According to the Centers of Disease Control, sealants prevent 80 percent of cavities for two years after they’re applied. That’s quite significant! In the following four years, they protect against 50 percent of cavities. Not only will sealants save your child from painful tooth decay, but they’ll also help save you money on dental care.
Are Sealants Expensive?
The affordable price of sealants makes them even more worthwhile. Costs vary, but you can expect to pay between $30 and $60 per tooth to have sealants applied. That’s a lot less than the cost to fill a cavity. Dental insurance often covers all or part of the cost of sealants, too.
Does the BPA in Sealants Cause Health Problems?
There has been growing concern about the safety of bisphenol A, or BPA, a component found in many plastic products. It has been linked to various forms of cancer, and many companies have begun making safer, BPA-free bottles and containers.
There is some BPA found in sealants, which causes some parents to turn them down. However, researchers have studied the BPA in sealants and have found that only a very small amount is released from the sealant — and mostly when the sealant is brand new. The tiny amount of BPA released is 50,000 times lower than the acceptable or safe dose of BPA. As such, the BPA released from sealants does not pose a health risk.
Does Your Child Need to Take Care of the Sealants?
Convincing your child to brush and floss their teeth can be tough enough, so some parents are concerned about the extra maintenance they figure sealants will entail. The good news is that sealants don’t really require any extra care once in place. Your child just needs to brush and floss, as usual.
Your child should limit their consumption of sticky snacks, like gummy bears and toffee, as these can pull on and loosen the sealant. But you do not have to forbid these treats entirely.
Are Sealants Painful or Uncomfortable to Apply?
If your child does not enjoy sitting still for dental procedures, you’re not alone. Luckily, having sealants applied is not painful or uncomfortable, and it only takes a few minutes. You don’t have to worry about your child’s mouth being sore the next day, or about local anesthesia being administered.
If your child has special needs, look for a dentist whose staff is specially trained to deal with children with special needs. They can make the experience of getting sealants a positive one for both you and your child.
Sealants are a safe and practical solution to help prevent cavities in a child’s back molars. Contact Apollo Dental if you are looking for children’s dental services. Our staff has the patience and understanding to effectively and kindly administer the care your child’s needs, whether that be sealants, a filling, or a crown.