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Health

Simple sealant can help save a child’s teeth

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A thin inexpensive coating on your child’s teeth may help stave off more costly, painful, and damaging tooth decay.

Sealants are coatings made from plastics or other dental materials and are applied to the back teeth, the molars that are the primary chewing teeth. This protects all the little nooks and crannies where even regular brushing cannot reach and clean.

Sealants have been shown to reduce the risk of decay in molars by nearly 80 percent, according to the American Dental Association. School-age children without sealants have almost three times more cavities than children with sealants, the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a 2016 report.

“We always recommend putting sealant on a child’s permanent molars to help prevent cavities in the future,” said Dr. Eric Salud, lead dentist at Complete Comfort Dental in Channahon. “There are a lot of deep grooves and food can get stuck and form cavities. We like to seal them up right away.”

Sealants are typically applied at about age 6 when the first molars come in, and again at around age 12 when the second set of molars appear.

The procedure is fairly simple. The teeth are cleaned and dried, an acid is applied to roughen the surface, the sealant is applied and a special blue light is used to dry the sealant.

Sealants can be clear, white, or slightly tinted, and usually are not seen when a child talks or smiles. The sealant might be felt with the tongue, but the layer is very thin and only fills the pits and grooves of molar teeth.

The procedure is painless and takes as little as 10 minutes, Dr. Salud said. Cost ranges from $25 to $50, and most insurance will cover it.

He said sealants are best applied after a teeth cleaning, arranged by a simple appointment.

Complete Comfort Dental

25445 S. Pheasant Lane, Suite I, Channahon, IL., 60410        

Call (815) 828-5355, or visit www.completecomfortdental.com.