The word, “Sealants” is derived from the word, “Seal”, which is exactly what the primary function of dental sealants is. In other words, dental sealants are used by dentists to seal certain parts of teeth, especially in the molar and premolar region, which are prone to cavities. However, there has been a rising concern in parents regarding the safety of the process. So the question is, “Are dental sealants safe for kids?”
Although every dentist would happily address such concerns, a step by step explanation as to why sealants pose no threats to kids is necessary.
What are sealants made of?
Dental sealants are made of refined plastic, or clinically approved dental elements. These are the main components that make up dental sealants, and therefore, pose no threat to any child. Neither of these elements have ever been proven to do any harm to a child’s dental health.
Do sealants have BPA’s?
According to the American Dental Association (ADA), sealants in dentistry do have a slight amount of BPA, which does not have any possible side effects associated with it in any form (ADA 2016). According to a study published in the US National Library of Medicines, the highest ever reported BPA level in sealants is well below 0.05mg, which is the acceptable dose (Rathee, Malik and Singh 2012). Therefore, despite the presence of BPA, sealants are absolutely safe for kids, due to the negligible dose contained in them.
How do sealants work?
In the most simplest of terms, sealants work like a coat. There are grooves in the molar and premolar regions, and pits in the frontal region. Food particles tend to stick to these grooves and pits, thereby giving way to bacteria. These bacteria then release acids that create holes in the teeth, which are commonly known as ‘cavities’.
- Sealants simply seal these pits and grooves.
- They are applied after drying off an acidic gel, that makes the sealant stick to the tooth surface.
- Once applied, they cover the pits and grooves in the teeth, and prevent any food particles from settling there.
As the process suggests, it is a completely painless procedure and does not even do anything close to dental harm to the kid’s teeth.
Is there a recommended age to apply sealants in kids?
Dentists highly recommend that sealants are applied to children belonging in the age group of 6-12 years old. This is because the first molars usually appear at the age of 6, while 11-12 years is the age when the milk tooth comes off and adult tooth replaces it. To the relief of a parent a dentist would examine the dental state and maturity of your child by himself, before deciding on whether it is the right time to apply a sealant to your child.
Is it clinically recommended for children?
Quite understandably, the American Dental Association (ADA) itself recommends that every child within the age group of 6-12 years receive sealants, even if they have relatively good dental hygiene. The ADA says that there are places where the bristles of the toothbrush cannot possibly reach, and flossing would cause more harm to the kids’ teeth than the harmless sealants. It is for this reason why the ADA recommends sealants as a cost-effective preventive measure against dental cavities in kids.
So as to conclude, sealants pose no risk at all to the dental health of a kid, and are rather highly recommended by dentists and the ADA alike.