As parents, we do our very best to keep our child’s teeth free of cavities. Whether it’s staying clear of sugary drinks or creating simple and effective cleaning routines, everyday care takes time and thought. But even with all that care, cavities can happen. Even before your child begins teething or their baby teeth begin erupting, the mouth is affected by their general health and nutrition. As baby teeth are a vital part of your child’s mouth, both acting as placeholders for the spacing and placement of permanent teeth, as well as helping children learn how to use their teeth properly, what should we do if a cavity does form?
Yes, the health of teeth is decided by factors that are both in your hands, like nutrition and dental hygiene, and out of them, like genetics. However, making sure to keep up with dental check-ups, as well as being aware of treatments can be added to this list to ensure a healthy smile in the future.
Although we’d like to avoid them, cavities do happen, even with the greatest care. Thankfully, modern dentistry techniques can help greatly with small to large damage and decay in your child’s mouth. Of course, we’d like to avoid any major damage or decay before it even begins. And this is where sealants can be a true benefit.
Sealants Can Protect Your Child’s Teeth
Rather than waiting to fill in a tooth that’s already undergone some decay, a sealant is a treatment that works by placing a protective cover over teeth that are more susceptible to that decay. This is commonly used on the teeth in harder to reach places, permanent molars, and even baby teeth that might be at risk for cavities. For children who already have all of their permanent teeth, a sealant can be quite important, especially for those who have deeper ridging around their teeth.
What’s the Procedure Like?
This procedure is actually rather simple. The non-invasive treatment takes only a few minutes per tooth. This procedure is usually done after initial teeth cleaning, and although some children may require sedation (due to temperament, age, or anxiety) many undergo this treatment without numbing. After an acid etch material is applied and washed from the tooth, a special white-colored resin is placed on the surface of the tooth. This solution is applied to cracks, etches, and crannies that are prone to general damage and cavities.
When Should You Consider Sealant?
Most children and their parents won’t need to consider sealants until the first set of permanent molars have erupted around the age of 6. It isn’t till age 12 that the second set of molars will find their permanent placement. We recommend a sealant for the first and second sets of molars.