When your children are around 6 years old, and then again around 12, you’ll probably hear your pediatric dentist bring up dental sealants.
The idea behind them is simple: we apply a thin, protective layer to their teeth to keep out bits of food and germs. Ultimately, this is a proactive measure to prevent cavities.
These sealants — known as pit-and-fissures sealants — are more than mere suggestions; they’re recommended by the American Dental Academy (ADA) and American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) for safeguarding and stopping in-progress cavities in primary and permanent molars. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), sealants can protect against 80% of cavities for two years, continuing to protect against 50% of cavities for up to an additional four years.
Sealants are available in a number of materials, including resin-based sealants and glass ionomer sealants, but neither the ADA nor AAPD express a preference for one specific type.
So, if your pediatric dentist brings up the idea of your kids getting sealants, know that the research has been done and the evidence has been found. For more than five decades, sealants have been an effective tool for addressing cavities. And that holds true today.
I hope this answers any questions you have about dental sealants. If you’re interested in learning more or scheduling an appointment, please contact my office today.
--Dr. Drew Zima