How Do Sealants Reduce My Child’s Cavity Risk?

February 6, 2024

Getting sealants is a quick process that could save your child from cavities and tooth decay. Learn how they work and when the best time to get them is. 

Kids and tweens often have trouble keeping their teeth clean. Between underdeveloped hygiene routines and sugary snacks, kids are prone to cavities and tooth decay. Additionally, crooked or overlapping teeth can make for many hard-to-reach areas your child might not brush or floss.  

That is where sealants come in. An important part of preventive care, sealants coat your child’s teeth to “seal” some of the gaps and grooves where bacteria gather.  

Since February is National Children’s Dental Health Month, Thi Hoang, DDS, Theresa Hoang, DDS, and our team at Las Positas Family Dental in Livermore, California, invite you to learn about sealants and their benefits.  

The best time for getting sealants

If you have small children, you might wonder when to book an appointment for sealants. Sealants are for your child’s molars, and you should plan on scheduling an appointment as soon as your child’s first permanent molars erupt. For most kids, this happens between five and seven.  

Your child’s second set of permanent molars typically emerges between 11 and 14. Once again, it’s time to book an appointment for sealants. After evaluating your child’s teeth, our team may decide to add sealants to other teeth with grooves or pits where bacteria tend to settle.  

The value of sealants for kids

Sealants are necessary because they reduce your child’s risk of getting cavities. Sealants place a barrier between the chewing surfaces of your child’s molars and decay-causing bacteria.  

Food particles and bacteria can become stuck in the grooves on the chewing surfaces of your child’s teeth. Even with impeccable brushing habits, brushing may not eliminate all of the debris. Cavities happen when acids and debris in the mouth erode the tooth enamel.  

A cavity could lead to pain and other complications for your child. Cavities can cause:

  • Bad breath
  • Bloody gums and gum disease
  • Tooth sensitivity, especially to heat and cold
  • Facial swelling
  • Tooth abscess

Rather than dealing with cavities as they happen, prevention can spare your child from these issues. Sealants are an excellent way to reduce the risk of decay.  

Your child’s getting sealants: What to expect

The process of applying sealants is painless and easy. Our team coats the chewing surfaces of your child’s molars with medical-grade liquid resin. Then, they harden the resin by curing it with a special light, creating a protective barrier over the enamel.  

Before this happens, the team thoroughly cleans your child’s teeth just as they do during routine cleaning appointments. That ensures no bacteria will be trapped under the resin. 

Once applied, sealants offer protection from cavities for up to five years. To help your child stay cavity-free during adolescence, our team recommends replacing their sealants regularly.  

Ready to protect your child’s teeth from cavities with durable sealants? Book an appointment online or over the phone at Las Positas Family Dental today.