Good News! Studies have proven the effectiveness of dental sealant, especially on children’s molars. Welcome to our update on molars and dental sealants.
At Dentistry for Children, we are well aware that the science of dentistry has been criticized. For example, we have heard newscasters sensationally demand more studies to prove the importance of flossing. (We hope that too many families did not suffer and furry teeth and cavities based on those stories.)
Likewise, we have heard a few snide remarks about dental sealants. So, we are here to set the record straight: New studies, as well as the old classic studies, have proven that when properly applied, dental sealants reduce cavities. The evidence proves this is especially true in molars. Plus, sealants are safe for your child.
Last Fall: Sealants Systematically Reviewed and Endorsed, Especially for Children’s Molars
Last year, both the American Dental Association (ADA) and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) created an updated study of the effectiveness of dental sealants as ammunition in our never-ending battle against tooth decay. Their verdict stands: This therapy is a powerful weapon in our defense of your children’s teeth against decay and disease.
Dr. Timothy Wright, the leader of one study, has stated, “The joint report reaffirms that sealants should be a routine part of cavity prevention, as children with sealants are up to 80 percent less prone to cavities compared to those without them.”
Look, Mom! No Cavities!
Their reports, “Sealants for Preventing and Arresting Pit-and-Fissure Occlusal Caries in Primary and Permanent Molars,” and “Evidence-based Clinical Practice Guideline for the Use of Pit-and-Fissure Sealants,” will never be on the New York Times list of best-selling reading material.
However, you can actually read all the details in the August issue of the report in Journal of the American Dental Association, as well as the July/August issue of AAPD’s Pediatric Dentistry Journal. Plus, you can check out some of the basic information in this blog article, in brief, as well as on our special dental sealant page.
The Truth Revealed: Amazing Protection for Molars
The new studies reviewed thousands of cases and concluded that children without sealant were actually 2-3 times more likely than children who had the treatment, to suffer from dental caries.
- On the one hand, the sealant is a first line preventative for tooth decay. Because of the caries-arresting feature of dental sealants, you child’s molars might never see decay. Now, that is very exciting to us, because we know how miserable having cavities can be for your child.
- On the other hand, the studies revealed evidence that sealants also can inhibit the progression of decay. “The use of sealants to arrest or inhibit the progression of carious lesions is important to the clinician when determining the appropriate intervention for non-cavitated carious lesions.”
How the Treatment Works
We can seal the first molars when they come in at some time between 5 and 7 years of age. Likewise, we seal more molars as they erupt somewhere between the ages of 11-14. By the time children have molars, we often already know if he or she is a high risk for tooth decay. We can give those bright new molars all the protection they need.
Here at Dentistry for children, such cases are especially dear to our hearts. Working together, parents and your dental team here in Orlando can address cavities before they happen. Experience taught us that sealants are very effective in protecting children from dental disease and decay. Now we back up our knowledge and experience with very recent studies spanning thousands of cases and several years.
Requires Meticulous Work But We Love It—and So Do Your Children’s Molars!
Once the doctor carefully applies the sealant, to the occlusal surfaces of the molars, he hardens it with a special light. He then seals each tooth with a final coat. The glass-like coating penetrates all the nooks, crannies, pits and crevices with the super-hard protective coating. These pits and fissures in molars are the structurally difficult to brush. The fissures and pits are places where your child is most likely to miss brushing. We invite you to see the details of the basic steps of the procedure in one of our previous articles. Molars from Cavity-Causing Bacteria.
About that BPA
By the way, it is true that there is a brief period of time while the sealant dries when your child has is exposed to BPA. However, you get 100 times more BPA with every breath you take, as opposed this treatment which continues to protect teeth for years.
Of course, we think your child’s favorite part of the therapy will be that it is absolutely painless, as well as fascinating. One of our 12-year-old patients fondly and graphically explained the therapy to his little 8-year-old sister very scientifically.
He said, “The dentist put a force field over every tooth. He dried off all the teeth first. It’s like smooth paint. Then, he made my teeth stronger with super power laser light. Now the sugar bugs can’t get in and eat holes in my teeth. It doesn’t hurt a bit-and you’ll love the laser. It’s pretty cool.”
Dr. Timothy Wright, leader of one of the studies put it a little differently. He stated, “Sealants are a proven and effective therapy for preventing cavities in children and teens. Oral disease can greatly impact one’s concentration and self-esteem and contributes to more than 51 million hours of missed school each year…” He added, “The joint report reaffirms that sealants should be a routine part of cavity prevention, as children with sealants are up to 80 percent less prone to cavities compared to those without them.”
Sealants will typically help the teeth resist decay for up to 4-7 years. However, rest assured, a pediatric dentist here at Dentistry for Children, located in Orlando, can touch up the sealant if the coating accumulates a little wear and tear. He will examine the integrity of the sealant every time you return to us here at your dental home for your regular check-ups.