Dental sealants are placed over the pits and fissures on the chewing surfaces of teeth. Their goal is to protect those surfaces from the start of tooth decay. As soon as the permanent molars erupt, we typically recommend placing sealants. Depending on how susceptible each individual’s teeth are to cavities, we may even recommend sealants on the premolars as they erupt. Below we will discuss some of the advantages of dental sealants.
ADA News reports that sealants can prevent around 80% of cavities in school aged children. However, 60% of those children did not receive dental sealants according to the CDC. The same report also found that if you did not have sealants, you had 3 times as many cavities as those who did. The resulting dental work totaled around $300 million that could have been prevented had some 7 million low-income children been provided sealants.
Because this is such a large problem, many local organizations have out-reach programs that offer free dental services to underprivileged children. A major focus of these programs is preventative dentistry. Along with fluoride treatments and home care instructions, sealants are an important part in breaking the cycle of early on-set tooth decay.
Are there any concerns or health related consequences with dental sealants? The only concern brought to our attention has been the presence of BPA (bisphenol-A) in the sealants. There is some concern BPA could be related to some health issues. But the
states that the potential exposure is minute and less than simply breathing air
or handling a receipt. The sealants are made from a similar compound as
composite (tooth colored) fillings, and there have not been any side affects to
these fillings related to BPA. ADA
Dental sealants are a good option for nearly every child as their permanent molars begin to erupt. They are non-invasive and can greatly reduce the potential for cavities. Be sure to ask us if you have any questions or concerns about your child and sealants.
Lee T. Brown, DDS
Brown and Kupper, DDS