Dental sealants are a thin protective layer that can protect a child’s permanent teeth from decay. Around the age of 12, most children’s permanent second molars have come into place. These chewing surfaces are particularly susceptible to wear and decay. As your dental hygienist may have already told you, tooth enamel never comes back after it has worn away. Dental sealants provide a protective layer that can protect against cavities for five to ten years. Nevertheless, some parents choose not to have this simple procedure performed for their children. Here are a few guesses at reasons why parents would forego this procedure.
Baby Teeth Are Only Temporary
It can be easy to shrug off the importance of baby teeth since they’ll all fall out eventually. One of the problems with this argument is that some adult teeth come into place relatively early. What’s more, baby teeth are better viewed as an opportunity to teach kids about the importance of proper oral hygiene. By investing money in their oral health, you are showing them that daily brushing may also be worth the investment of their time.
No Money for Pediatric Dentistry
Finances are a significant consideration for most families. Without insurance coverage, the expense of paying for regular cleanings and toothaches can pile up. Even if the kids need dentures before high school, this worst-case scenario still has a silver lining. Children who don’t get as many toys as their friends will still be able to appreciate the extra change from the tooth fairy.
Dental Sealants Are Unsightly
It’s true that dental sealants don’t always blend in with the natural color of adjacent teeth. That said, a person would usually have to take a very close look to notice the difference. This procedure is most often recommended for molars and other chewing surfaces near the back of the mouth, which means that they are out of sight during a smile or conversation. Depending on the dentist you use, there may be a choice of colors, including white, clear, and tinted. Compared to the flash of metal fillings, this procedure is very unlikely to make a noticeable aesthetic difference.
The Protection Is Only Temporary
It’s true that this procedure is not a permanent solution. It’s also important to emphasize that regular brushing is still necessary and important. While it isn’t a lifetime solution, sealing the teeth does provide many years of protection. The treatment may take five or even ten years to wear away gradually. Grinding teeth, highly acidic saliva, and regular consumption of soda are three examples of factors that could affect the long-term effectiveness of this procedure. If your mouth is a particularly hostile environment, one where this procedure would only briefly delay inevitable wear, then it’s still worth making the investment. Most of the same processes that wear away artificial protection will also wear away tooth enamel, leaving the tooth vulnerable to decay and disease.
When you’re looking out for the oral health of your kids, this is one procedure that’s worth the investment. Speak with a dentist to learn more about whether your child is ready for this protection.