Pediatric Dentistry: Why Does a Child Need Dental Sealants?

Pediatric Dentistry Middletown, NY

A pediatric dentist is a dentist who specializes in caring for the teeth and gums of pediatric patients, who are toddlers, children, and adolescents. Pediatric patients tend to require more preventive care than adults because their teeth and gums are more prone to cavities and other infections. For example, toddlers tend to drink juice, which is typically sugary and can lead to cavities. Children who consume large amounts of sugar do not always practice the best oral hygiene. This can result in children's teeth and gums being more vulnerable to activities and other oral health problems.  

Fortunately, there is a pediatric dentistry solution that can help keep cavities at a minimum. Dental sealants are a quick and easy procedure that functions as a preventive treatment. This article is an overview of why dental sealants may be used in pediatric dentistry for children. Parents who are considering dental sealants for their kids should carefully review the following information.

Dental sealants in pediatric dentistry

A dental sealant is an extremely thin protective coating that is painted directly over a tooth that engages in chewing. Typically, dental sealants are made of a plastic material that comes in a liquid form. They are usually placed on the chewing surfaces of the teeth that are in the very back of the mouth, which are known as the molars. 

The procedure

In a pediatric dentistry setting, parents should expect the dental sealant procedure to go seamlessly. The child will first need a dental cleaning to ensure that there is nothing on the teeth that could get in the way of the sealants. After the teeth have been thoroughly cleaned and dried, the pediatric dentist will use a dental tool to paint the dental sealant material onto the teeth. In certain cases, a special curing light may be used to harden the liquid material and seal off the tooth. 

The placement of dental sealants is painless and does not involve the use of any loud instruments that could induce fear or anxiety in the patient. In most cases, the appointment is completed within an hour. Unlike other pediatric dentistry procedures, the placement of dental sealants does not leave the child in discomfort or unable to feel their mouth. No numbing agents are used, and it is highly unlikely that a sedative will be required. That said, in rare cases, if the child has extreme dental anxiety, laughing gas can be administered at the start of the procedure to ease their fears. 

Benefits and other things to note

A preventative dentistry procedure like dental sealant placement is meant to protect a child's teeth so cavities do not form. This measure also helps prevent the future need for dental restorations such as fillings, crowns, and even root canals. The procedure is painless and quick and does not require any special care afterward.

Most pediatric dentists recommend sealants for baby teeth. They can also be placed on a child's adult teeth once they begin to grow in. Re-application of dental sealants can be done once a year if desired. 

What is important to note is that even with dental sealants, patients of all ages are still responsible for maintaining good oral hygiene every day. Sealants alone are not enough to prevent the teeth from developing cavities. It is up to the patient or patient's parents to also ensure that the teeth are cleaned properly on a daily basis. Additionally, avoiding highly acidic or sugary items can help keep cavities at bay. 

Preparing children for dental sealants

It can be difficult to prepare for a pediatric dentistry procedure. Children are not always keen on going to the dentist. Dental visits can result in fear and anxiety, which can make it challenging to get the procedure done. Pediatric dentists can help. These specialists can explain the process to the child in simple terms and help the child understand the tools and instruments that will be used.

Additionally, pediatric dentists can invite the child to the office ahead of time, so they can get comfortable with the tools, environment, and staff. This may eliminate any surprises during the actual placement procedure, which should reduce anxiety and fear.  

Next steps

For parents who are looking into getting dental sealants for their children, the next step is consulting with a pediatric dentistry practice. Any questions or concerns regarding the procedure or preparing for it can be appropriately addressed by staff. Reach out today to learn more or to get scheduled for an appointment.

Request an appointment here: https://www.hvkidsmiles.com or call Hudson Valley Pediatric Dentistry at (845) 363-4177 for an appointment in our Middletown office.

Check out what others are saying about our dental services on Yelp: Pediatric Dentist in Middletown, NY.

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