Are Dental Sealants Safe for Children?

Are Dental Sealants Safe for Children?

A debate is ongoing about whether dental sealants that contain trace amounts of BPA are safe for children or not and it has been continuing since 2010. Some companies producing dental sealants ventured out to study their products and reported they contain no BPA while others continued to produce them with BPA. Manufacturers argue that the quantity of BPA is the same as it is present in baby bottles. The FDA is continuing its study and stated that the compounds are safe for children.

The debate is unlikely to end soon with the CDC (Centres for Disease Control and Prevention) stating that the benefits of this simple and inexpensive treatment in children outweigh any questions being raised by the naysayers.

What Are Dental Sealants and Why Are They Needed by Children

Dental sealants are available as a thin coating that is applied to the teeth to protect them from cavities. The procedure is painless and can cost around $ 30-$ 60 per tooth. The dental insurance and discount plans can reduce some of the costs involved in getting dental sealants for children. Dental hygienists have commented that less than 50 percent of the children are using dental sealants that they have proven themselves as safe and effective for over four decades.

What Does Research Indicate About the Safety of Dental Sealants?

A report from the CDC mentions that dental sealants can prevent cavities by 80 percent for a couple of years after the application. The protection continues against the cavities by 50 percent until four years and the sealants can remain in the mouth until nine years, states the CDC.

Children from low-income households were 20 percent unlikely to have dental sealants as compared to children from the higher income groups where 43 percent of children between 6 to 11-year-old have them. Three times more cavities are found in children without sealants that the children that have them. Scientists from New York have confirmed that sealants are the most conservative and non-invasive treatment in dentistry to battle against cavities.

After an application of dental sealants, they need to be maintained during regular visits to the dentist for checkups and exams. This is to ensure they do not wear away. Dental practitioners need to apply the sealants carefully to have the best success rates as the dental sealants are technically sensitive to the area of the placement.

Why Are Dentists Suggesting Dental Sealants?

Dentists are suggesting that children get dental sealants even after they have provided adequate education to the child about brushing and flossing. The plastic coating is painted on the molars to fill in small indentations and it has the role of acting as an armor for the teeth by preventing cavities during the years children are prone to having them between the ages of 6 to 14. Having dental sealants is a better option than going under the dentist’s drill after developing cavities which may require more than just fillings.

According to several studies, dental sealants when properly applied are nearly 100 percent effective in preventing cavities on the molars. With tooth decay remaining one of the most common chronic conditions of children it is no wonder that practitioners in general dentistry are often recommending sealants for children. They have after all proven beneficial for children for nearly 4 decades as an effective remedy to deal with cavities.

The Application of Dental Sealants

Some concerns have been expressed by many people that sealants that are not placed over immaculate surfaces have the potential to trap decay beneath leaving no way to clean it out. Experienced dentists in general dentistry admit that it is essential to prepare the tooth before the application by cleaning, polishing, disinfecting and drying. Dentists maintain the children that are often uncooperative make it a challenge to complete the application appropriately. Keeping the child’s tooth dry before the application is the biggest challenge encountered by dentists. It is the reason why many dentists are recommending parents to visit a pediatric dentist for the application because they have received additional training to manage children and can complete the procedure as recommended to provide the best protection.

Different thoughts have been expressed by various people none of whom has come up with a valid reason or evidence to prove dental sealants are unsafe for children.