Ever Heard Of Dental Sealants And Fluoride Varnish? If Not, Ask Your Dentist How To Protect Your Child's Teeth

Dentist Articles

According to the National Children's Oral Health Foundation, oral decay is the most common chronic illness affecting children throughout the United States. If you're worried about your child's oral health, you might be wondering what steps you can take beyond insisting they brush their teeth and stay away from sweets. There are two simple and safe procedures – fluoride varnish and dental sealants – that can help prevent cavities and keep your little ones' teeth looking white and bright well into their teenage years. Here is some information about both options, and why you should consider speaking to your pediatric dentist:

Fluoride Varnish

From your toothpaste to the water from your tap, chances are you and your children are exposed to fluoride everyday. Just like the fluoride found in your favorite toothpaste, fluoride varnish is also gentle, effective and safe for most children.

However, before you start contacting your insurance provider about the copays associated with this common procedure, here are some questions you should ask your dentist about fluoride varnish:

  • Is It Safe? – In most cases, fluoride varnish is very safe and can even be applied to a baby's first tooth. The amount of varnish applied to the teeth is so minimal that, many times, your child won't swallow any more fluoride than if they accidentally ate a little toothpaste.

  • What Is The Application Process Like? – Typically, your child will have the fluoride varnish applied two or three times each year. The product is simply brushed onto the teeth in a matter of minutes.

  • What About the Other Fluoride Treatments My Child Receives? – You might be concerned about the level of fluoride your child is exposed to already, and this could lead you to second guess this treatment. However, if your child is prone to cavities, their dentist still might recommend a fluoride varnish treatment.

  • Is This Treatment Recommended For Every Child? – Although the majority of children are perfect candidates for fluoride varnish, there are instances when a dentist will discuss an alternative treatment. Don't get discouraged and, instead, work with your child's dentist to determine which treatment will benefit your child's specific needs. 

Dental Sealants

Another option for older children is a dental sealant, and if you're concerned about all those sugary drinks, this might be the best option. However, according to WebMD, a smaller child might also benefit from this treatment, especially if they have deep pitting or other irregularities on the surface of their teeth.

Before you rush out and schedule an appointment, here are some critical questions to ask about dental sealant to determine if it is the right option for your child or teenager:

  • What Is Involved With This Procedure? – The sealant is applied after your child's teeth are cleaned, and the entire process is generally completed within a matter of hours. The dentist might need to utilize a special light to help harden the sealant, but this is also completely safe.

  • Are All The Teeth Sealed? – Generally, your child's premolars and molars will benefit the most from the dental sealant. However, if your child or teen's teeth feature pits, the dentist might recommended having these sealed, as well.

  • How Long Does the Sealant Last? – In most cases, if your child is diligent about caring for their teeth properly, the sealant will protect their teeth for several years.

You might be concerned about the cost of fluoride varnish or dental sealants and if these treatments are truly safe and effective. Don't hesitate to talk to your pediatric dentist about all your concerns, and chances are, you'll walk away even more confident about either of these options.


21 July 2015