Dental Sealants are completely safe for children. At Dentistry for Children, we have discussed this issue before. However, rumors, fear, and doubts are still popping up. And many parents are naturally concerned. This is largely due to the fact, they are not aware of the studies and findings concerning dental sealants.
In our blog article, we will try to dispel these rumors and fears. Additionally, we will point out the advantages of these sealants.
Children’s Best Care
In the war on cavities, there is no substitute for proper brushing and flossing. This is the best. However, facing facts, teaching and guiding children to brush and floss properly is not easy. And it is time-consuming.
Some parents simply do not have time to properly supervise brushing and flossing on a 7 day, 3 times a day basis. Additionally, it is not easy to care for every nook and cranny in teeth, especially those precious back molars.
Mouth Healthy adds, “Molars are rough, uneven and a favorite place for leftover food and cavity-causing bacteria to hide.
Therefore, we recommend sealants as a back-up method of protection. And sealants add an extra measure of protection even if your child brushes and flosses.
Quiz Questions on Sealants
Here is a little True / False quiz provided by the American Dental Association. It’s designed to test your knowledge on the topic. Record your answers and you can see how well you did at the end of the blog.
1. Dental sealants are just for kids. True or False
2. Cavities are the most common childhood disease. True or False
3. Sealants are expensive. True or False
4. Sealants will make my mouth look funny. True or False
5. Sealants hurt. True or False
What are the Advantages of Dental Sealants?
According to the CDC, they are vital to reduce the number of cavities in school-age children. The News Room for the Centers for Disease Control released a special report. “School-age children without sealants have three times more cavities than children with sealants.”
Added to this is the fact that only 43 % of children 6-11 have dental sealants.
The CDC also states that dental sealant programs could prevent most cavities.
The American Dental Association (Mouth Healthy) concurs. And they add, “Sealants have been shown to reduce the “risk of decay by nearly 80 percent.”
Sealants can also be used on a tooth that has slight decay if there are reasons not to treat it immediately. It slows the progress of the decay and can be observed by your dentist to check the progress.
Dentistry for Children has previously written a detailed article on the value of dental sealants. We recommend you take time to review this blog.
What are Dental Sealants?
Dental sealants could be considered a “safety net” to keep teeth clean. It is a thin protective coating. It is “made from plastic or other dental materials.”
This coating adheres to the chewing surface of your back teeth. The American Dental Assoc. compares it to a “raincoat” protecting you from rain. Of course, in this case, it protects the teeth from much worse.
Does It Contain BPA?
Yes. And now, this is the controversial objection of some critics. Sealants are said to contain BPA as part of the ingredients. And no matter how small a percentage, it is still a problem.
Here is a brief definition of this compound from The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.
or Bisphenol A is a “chemical produced in large quantities for use primarily in the production of polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins.”
Is Bisphenol Dangerous?
To answer this question, a detailed study was conducted by pediatric endocrinologist Abby F. Fleisch, MD, and colleagues.
The study found two significant results.
1. Yes. “BPA does indeed form in the mouth after some dental sealants and fillings are applied. BPA can be found in the saliva three hours after dental work is completed. It’s not at all clear whether this poses a health risk.”
2. “A quick wipe and rinse of the completed dental work vastly decreases whatever risk there might be.”
The general conclusion reached was: “We believe the high preventive benefits of sealants far outweigh the risk.”
The American Dental Association adds that “you get more exposure to BPA by simply touching a receipt, using cosmetics or coming in contact with dust.”
More General Questions about Sealants
Here are a few more common Questions dealing with pain, time, and procedures.
Are Dental Sealants Effective on Adults?
Sealants benefit both children and adults. The ADA is quick to point out that the sooner they are applied, the better.
Children’s first molars show up at about 6 years old. And the 2nd molars appear at approximately 12. Sealing the teeth as soon as they break through can help keep the cavity from the beginning.
- Do You Wonder How Sealants Are Applied?
It is really a painless and quick procedure. To help you understand just how simple and painless the process is, here are the basic steps.
- First, your dentist will clean and dry off the teeth.
- Then, an acidic gell will be placed on the teeth. The gel roughens the tooth surface and permits the gel to create a strong bond with the tooth.
- After a short time, your teeth will be rinsed off and dried again.
- This is followed by coating the groves of your teeth with gel or dental sealant.
- Your dentist will then use a special blue light to harden the sealant.
Now, the “raincoat of protection” is in place and should prevent further damage to your teeth.
“After the sealant has been applied, it keeps those bits of food out and stops bacteria and acid from settling on your teeth. It’s just like a raincoat that keeps you clean and dry during a storm.”
Are There Any Side Effects?
No. There are no known side effects from sealants with one exception. Some patients may be allergic to some or all sealant compounds.
Do Sealants Have to be Replaced Yearly?
No. As a matter of fact, Sealants will often last for several years before they need to be reapplied. During your regular dental visit, your dentist will check the condition of the sealant and can reapply them as needed.
Are Sealants Covered By Dental Plans?
Some plans do cover sealants, so call your dental benefit company to find out what kind of coverage you have.
DENTAL QUIZ ON SEALANTS
Earlier, we asked you to take a True/False quiz to see how much you know about children and dental sealants. Here are the answers:
1. Dental sealants are just for kids.. (False)
No way. Sealants can benefit anyone who wants them. The likelihood of developing pit and fissure decay begins early in life, so children and teenagers are obvious candidates, but adults can benefit from sealants as well.
2. Cavities are the most common childhood disease.. (True)
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cavities remain the most common chronic disease of children 6 to 19 years of age. Dental sealants can help prevent cavities before they start.
3. Sealants are expensive.. (False)
No way! Sealants are an inexpensive way to prevent cavities and in the long run, can save you money. Talk to your dentist about how preventing cavities now can not only keep your mouth healthy but save you money down the road.
4. Sealants will make my mouth look funny… (False)
Never! Sealants are invisible. So, no one will ever see them. This plastic resin bonds into the depressions and grooves (pits and fissures) of the chewing surfaces of back teeth. The sealant acts as a barrier, protecting the enamel from plaque and acids.
5. Sealants hurt.. (False)
One of the best things about sealants is that they don’t hurt. You won’t feel a thing when your dentist applies a sealant to your tooth. As long as the sealant remains intact, the tooth surface will be protected from decay.
If you answered all the questions correctly, congratulations. If not, consider rounding out your education by visiting the American Dental Association.
Do You Still Have Doubts About Sealant For Your Children?
If you are still undecided, consider these statements from the CDC and the American Dental Association.
- “Many children with untreated cavities will have difficulty eating, speaking, and learning,” said CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden.
- The CDC says that “20 percent of kids and teenagers have untreated dental decay by the time they are 19. Kids with constant toothaches cannot eat properly and have trouble paying attention at school.”
- “Even though they are endorsed by the CDC and the American Dental Association, only 43 percent of 6- to 11-year-old children have a dental sealant.”
Just one quick reminder: Sealants are for extra protection, not a substitute for effective brushing and flossing! Keep up the Great Work!
Thank you for reading our Blog.