Mommyish Poll: Would You Get Dental Sealants For Your Kid?

dental sealants for kidsParents everywhere dragged their toddlers to the toothbrushes in the wake of The New York Times‘ staggering piece on the uptick in toddler cavities. With children as young as two being put under anesthesia to deal with negligence in dental hygiene, even Mommyish readers admitted that they weren’t too diligent about keeping teeth clean. But given the pronounced rise in toddler tooth decay, would you consider dental sealants for your child?

Jonathan Shenkin, a pediatric dentist and spokesperon for the American Dental Association, attests that resin-based sealant can reduce cavities by 80% “immediately,”and up to 60% for four years or more. Although not all children need dental sealants by any means, those parents of high-risk children who exhibit a lot of decay (you know who you are), should apparently consider the option:

“The lack of dentists doing sealants is a very silent and probably the most significant issue to care we face among children,” said Shenkin. “Parents should be asking for sealants and not taking no for an answer.”

But the topic of dental sealants is by no means a harmonious one among dentists, according to msnbc’s report. Some contest the effectiveness of the sealants, pointing out that the protection can vary depending on the skill of the dentist applying them. Gordon J. Christensen makes the case that sealants shouldn’t be applied if decay is already present, which for those toddlers who are already going under anesthesia could present a problem.

Kids who are starting in kindergarten, however, are perfect candidates:

Dental sealants are formed when a plastic-like liquid is dripped onto the biting surface of the tooth, coating the pits and fissures that typically trap food and foster bacterial growth.

They’re applied to the permanent molars and set with ultraviolet light, ideally between the ages of 5 and 7, when the teeth erupt. Cost can be $30 to $40 for each tooth and is typically covered by most dental insurance policies.

Sorry! This poll is now closed.

(photo: Dmitriy Shironosov/ Shutterstock)

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  • Michelle

    I had the sealants on my molars done when I was about 9 years old. It’s 15 years later and I have never had a cavity and don’t really have problems with my teeth except alignment. Real quick procedure, I will certainly do the same for my kids.

  • Eileen

    Is this even a question? My friends and my sisters and I all got these done more or less automatically at the dentist’s recommendation. It’s really easy – fits right in with your regular dentist appointment. And even though crappy teeth and gums run in my family on both sides, I’ve had very few problems with my teeth other than the fact that they came in crooked.

    • NotThumper

      THIS. I wasn’t even aware it was an option, it was just done. I honestly wish it could still be done for adults too.

    • A. Levy

      It is done for adults. I’ve had sealants since I was about 6 and never had a cavity. I was well into my 20s when a couple became loose and had to be replaced. As for my 3 yo, I also thought it was automatic. I had no idea dentists said no.

  • Jennifer

    My husband got these done as a child and he’s never had a cavity, and he has a serious candy addiction.

  • Jane S.

    Cool Story, Bro: I had sealants put on the backs of my upper four front teeth when I was about eight years old. Six months later, a very young, very nervous dental assistant scraped ‘em right off. “WHAT did you DO to get PLAQUE like this?!” he exclaimed while wielding the dental scraper like a stone chisel. I was spitting little cellophane-like shards of sealant for days. Bonus: Dentist assumed I had destroyed my own sealants with hard candy and ice cubes, and gave me a thorough dressing-down (which was then reprised at home).

  • Katie

    Ive had my molars done, and I wouldnt be opposed to my daughter having them done on her adult teeth, not her baby teeth though.