What are dental sealants and what are they for?
Sealants help protect your childs permanent molar but can also help protect baby teeth which can get cavities. As your child eats, he or she chews using the molars located towards the back of the mouth which may have leftover food or bacteria on them. These teeth are harder to brush and sealants help protect them.
How would you know if your child needs dental sealants?
Your child’s first molars begin showing at the age of 6 and it is very important for your child to come for check ups to see if they need sealants. The second set of molars show when your child is around 12 years old and may also need sealants. The sooner a sealant is placed, the better protection your child will have to prevent cavities.
How are dental sealants placed on teeth?
Think of sealants as a white layer on top of the teeth. A special resin coating is placed on top of the teeth similar to a way you would put on sunscreen with a few additional steps. Theres no need for numbing the child and it only takes a couple minutes and is usually put on right after a cleaning. After the teeth are cleaned, one of our Dentists will put on an acid etch material to prepare the tooth for the sealant coating. Then a tooth is dried and the Sealant resin is painted onto the teeth. After the coating is applied, a special light is placed on the teeth to make sure the teeth are properly covered and hardens the resin to complete the procedure.
How do sealants help and do they need to be re-done?
A sealant is done in minutes but gives up to 10 years of protection for your child’s permanent teeth. They are made to match the color of your child’s teeth and be nearly invisible. Sealants are fairly durable but are worn away when your child eats and should be replaced approximately once every 3 years. The sealant may last longer or shorter based on how well your child’s teeth are brushed.
Are cavities totally prevented with sealants?
Unfortunately nothing can last forever. Depending on your child’s hygiene, lack of brushing/flossing, and sugary foods/drinks can cause cavities. Sealants are an extra layer of protection, but the best results come from proper brushing and flossing.