Sealants!

Dental Sealants

Did you know?

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One of the best ways to protect a child’s teeth from tooth decay is with dental sealants

Dental sealants protect the teeth through the cavity-prone years, ages six to 14, when back teeth are first susceptible to decay. Sealants provide extra protection on childrens teeth until they learn how to do a better job of brushing and flossing.

Sealants act as barriers, protecting the teeth against decay-causing bacteria. The sealants are usually applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth (premolars and molars) where decay occurs most often.

Applying dental sealants is a simple, painless procedure that’s also inexpensive compared to filling a cavity.

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Just the facts

  • Dental Sealants are a clear plastic material, professionally applied to the back teeth to prevent cavities.
  • 90% of children’s tooth decay occurs on tooth surfaces with pits and fissures. Sealants do a great job of preventing tooth decay on those kinds of surfaces.
  • Your child can benefit from sealants applied around six years of age, when first permanent molars erupt.

Questions and Answers

What are sealants?

Sealants are made of a white or clear resin material. They help shield bacteria which causes decay on the surface of the back teeth.

How can sealants prevent decay?

The sealant material bonds to the chewing surface of the back teeth, forming a protective barrier covering the depressions and grooves (pits and fissures) of the molars.

Sealants prevent bacteria from nestling into the grooves of the teeth AND they seal out any food sources from the deep pits and fissures of molar teeth.

Why are sealants necessary?

Because the depressions and grooves (pits and fissures) on the back teeth are impossible to keep clean. The tooth brush bristles cannot reach deep into them. These depressions and grooves are snug places for food and plaque to hide. By coating the grooves with a thick covering of sealant material, plaque and food is kept out, decereasing the chances of decay.

Which teeth are suitable for sealants?

First and second molars are most likely to benefit from sealant applications. It is best to seal these molars right after they have just erupted catching them before decay sets in. First molars generally appear at around six years of age and second molars at about 12 years of age. Children between the ages of six and 14 benefit most from sealants.

How are sealants applied?

After an examination, it is determined which teeth can be sealed. Applying sealants is very simple and painless. First, the teeth are cleaned. Then in preparation for the sealant material, the teeth are dabbed with a very mild solution similar in strength to vinegar or lemon juice. This will roughen the tooth surface slightly so the sealant will bond properly to the tooth and ensure a clean tooth surface. After the tooth has been prepared, the resin sealant material is painted onto the tooth. It will flow into the grooves of the tooth and hardens in about 30 seconds. Afterwards, the bacteria cannot reach the pits and grooves.

Have sealants been thoroughly tested?

Yes. Children around the world have had their teeth sealed in clinical studies. These studies have proven sealants to be effective, easy to apply, inexpensive and nontoxic.

Are sealants covered by dental insurance?

Yes!  Most dental insurance plans offer coverage for up to 100% of the cost of placing a dental sealant.  For information specific to your dental insurance plan, please speak with a member of my staff or your dental insurance company.

How long will dental sealants last?

Sealants will chip or break off if you regularly chew on ice or hand candies (you can also break a tooth doing that!) Sealant application can last for as long as you are careful not to bite into things that are not foods.   They should be checked regularly and reapplied when the appear to have worn off.  My goal is to send your child off to college cavity free and with intact sealants to protect their teeth into the future!