Dental Tips Blog

Sep
12

Dental Sealants: What Parents Need to Know

Maybe you have the type of child who cannot resist candy and other sweets. Or, maybe yours is the type that just won’t brush his teeth, no matter how much you nag. Or, maybe his teeth are weak and vulnerable because of genetics or disease. If your child falls into any of these categories, he might be a good candidate for dental sealants.

A dental sealant is a plastic material applied to the top of the back molars with an ultraviolet light. The plastic fills the nooks and crannies of the tooth, the places where cavities are likely to erupt, and forms a barrier to protect the tooth.

Dental sealants are most effective when applied to the permanent teeth as soon as they form, usually when a kid is between the ages of 7 and 11. They usually last about six years.

Kennesaw dentists won’t apply a dental sealant if the tooth has decay or it has a filling. Some won’t even apply sealants if there is any sign of “non-cavitated caries lesions,” an early stage of tooth decay. The fear is that if the tooth is sealed, decay will continue under the sealant.

Another concern about dental sealants which has been around since they were first invented 50 years ago is that they may expose children to Bisphenol A, or BPA, a chemical used in the sealant that has estrogen like qualities. There has been much debate worldwide about this widely used chemical and its possible ill effects on health, including possible neurological effects.

Despite this, some reports indicate as many as 55 million dental sealants are applied each year in the United States.  The American Dental Association and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have examined the data and both find the benefits of dental sealants in preventing tooth decay outweigh any potential risks.

If you are a parent with a cavity prone child and have any questions or concerns about dental sealants, you should talk to your child’s pediatric dentist.

Posted on behalf of Dr. Hamir Contractor, Kennesaw Mountain Dental Associates

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