Dental Sealants for Kids
If the tooth fairy visited your house this summer to retrieve your child’s recently lost molars, you should protect those new permanent teeth with dental sealants. Molars are the large teeth in the back of the mouth that are used for breaking down food. These big teeth have natural pits and grooves where bacteria can hide causing cavities (tooth decay), even with good dental habits.
Sealants, a thin plastic coating applied directly to teeth, help prevent bacteria from settling into the pits and grooves of teeth where most tooth decay in children develops. According to a recent joint study published by the American Dental Association and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, children with sealants are up to 80 percent less prone to cavities.1 As an added bonus for kids and parents – sealants are painless and do not require anesthetic.
“There is consistent evidence that sealants applied on permanent molars in children and teens reduce cavities2," said Dr. Jeffrey Chaffin, Vice President and Dental Director, Delta Dental of Iowa and board member for Delta Dental of Iowa Foundation. “We recommend dental sealants be applied on new molars before any damage can occur. This inexpensive procedure demonstrates the value of preventive dental care that can help avoid future pain and costs associated with cavities.”
Now is a good time to check with your dental office to see if your child is eligible for sealants and schedule their next appointment. Sealants may also be available and applied right at your child’s school through the I-Smile™ @ School program.
Since 2013, the Delta Dental of Iowa Foundation has provided more than $670,000 in funding for I-Smile™ @ School, a program in partnership with the Iowa Department of Public Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Because of this funding, the program has been expanded from 27 to 78 Iowa counties. It is expected that during the 2016-2017 school year all of Iowa’s 99 counties will offer sealant programs which greatly increases the number of Iowa children receiving regular dental screenings and treatments like fluoride varnish and dental sealants.
“Delta Dental of Iowa Foundation is proud to support the I-Smile™ @ School Program,” said Jeff Russell, President and CEO for Delta Dental of Iowa and President of the Delta Dental of Iowa Foundation. “School-based dental sealant programs help remove common barriers for children getting this important preventive dental care – such as lack of dental benefits or transportation.”
To connect with the I-Smile™ program coordinator in your county and ask about dental sealants, visit the Iowa Department of Public Health website.
About Delta Dental of Iowa
Delta Dental of Iowa is the largest and most experienced provider of dental benefits in the state. As a not-for-profit insurance company, Delta Dental of Iowa invests in oral health and wellness projects through the Delta Dental of Iowa Foundation that focus on access to care, prevention, education and research. Delta Dental of Iowa Foundation’s mission is to support and improve the oral health of Iowans.
Delta Dental of Iowa is a member of the Delta Dental Plans Association, the leading national network of independent dental service corporations. The Delta Dental member companies provide dental benefits to more than 70 million Americans in more than 120,000 employee groups throughout the country. For more information, visit our website at www.deltadentalia.com.
1American Dental Association and American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, JADA 147, August 2016
2 American Dental Association Council on Scientific Affairs, JADA 139, March 2008