Dental sealants are an important tool in preventing childhood caries (cavities) and tooth decay. Especially when used in combination with other preventative measures, like biannual checkups and a good daily home care routine, sealants can enhance the mouth’s natural defenses, and keep smiles healthy.
How do sealants protect children’s teeth?
In general, dental sealants are used to protect molars from oral bacteria and harmful oral acids. These larger, grooved teeth reside toward the back of the mouth and can be difficult to clean. Decay-causing bacteria often inhabit the nooks and crannies (pits and fissures) found on the chewing surfaces of the molars. These areas are extremely difficult to access with a regular toothbrush. The sealant acts as a barrier, preventing food particles and oral bacteria from entering tooth enamel.
How are sealants applied? Initially, the dentist must thoroughly clean and prepare the molars, before painting sealant on the targeted teeth. Then the sealant is painted onto the chewing surface where it bonds to the tooth and hardens. A special light may be used to help the sealant harden. Sealants are generally clear or white and cannot be seen when you smile or talk
When should sealants be applied?
Pediatric dentists recommend that permanent molars be sealed when they erupt.
The health of the sealant must be monitored at biannual appointments.
If you have questions or concerns about dental sealants, please contact your pediatric dental office.