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Dental Sealants

Dental sealants are thin plastic coatings that protect the chewing surfaces of children’s back teeth from decay (cavities). Because they have small pits and grooves, these surfaces are rough and uneven. Food and germs can get stuck in the pits and grooves and stay there for a long time because toothbrush bristles cannot brush them away. Sealants fill in the grooves and keep the food out.

What are Dental Sealants?


 
  • Studies show it can reduce decay up to 70%
  • Tooth colored plastic resin coatings.
  • Coatings fill pits and grooves to keep food and germs out.
  • Painless simple process:
    • Clean the teeth
    • Apply solution to allow sealant to stick to teeth
    • Apply sealant in liquid form.
    • Sealant hardens in about a minute.
  • Sealant can last up to a decade!

Why are They Needed?


Children should get sealants on their permanent molars as soon as they come in--before decay attacks the teeth. Sealants, daily brushing and flossing, drinking fluoridated water, and regular dental check-ups are an important part of your child’s oral health and the best defense against tooth decay.

Which teeth are suitable for sealants?


Permanent molars are the most likely to benefit from sealants. The first molars usually come into the mouth when a child is about 6 years old. Second molars appear at about age 12. It is best if the sealant is applied soon after the teeth have erupted, before they have a chance to decay.

Who should get sealants?


Children should get sealants on their permanent molars as soon as
the teeth come in -- before decay attacks the teeth.
  • The first permanent molars — called "6 year molars" — come in between the ages of 5 and 7.
  • The second permanent molars — "12 year molars" — come in when a child is between 11 and 14 years old.
  • Other teeth with pits and grooves also might need to be sealed.
  • Teenagers and young adults who are prone to decay may also need sealants.

What if a small cavity is accidentally covered by a sealant?


The decay will not spread, because it is sealed off from its food and germ supply.

Does anything else help to prevent tooth decay?


Yes. Sealants and fluoride together can prevent almost all tooth decay.

How are sealants applied?


Applying sealants does not require drilling or removing tooth structure. The process is short and easy. After the tooth is cleaned, a special gel is placed on the chewing surface for a few seconds. The tooth is then washed off and dried. Then, the sealant is painted on the tooth. The dentist or dental hygienist also may shine a light on the tooth to help harden the sealant. It takes about a minute for the sealant to form a protective shield.

Are sealants visible?


Sealants can only be seen up close. Sealants can be clear, white, or slightly tinted, and usually are not seen when a child talks or smiles.

Will sealants make teeth feel different?


As with anything new that is placed in the mouth, a child may feel the sealant with the tongue. Sealants, however, are very thin and only fill the pits and grooves of molar teeth.

How long will sealants last?


A sealant can last for as long as 5 to 10 years. Sealants should be checked at your regular dental appointment and can be reapplied if they are no longer in place.

Will sealants replace fluoride for cavity protection?


No. Fluorides, such as those used in toothpaste, mouth rinse, and community water supplies also help to prevent decay, but in a different way. Sealants keep germs and food particles out of the grooves by covering them with a safe plastic coating. Sealants and fluorides work together to prevent tooth decay.

How do sealants fit into a preventive dentistry program?


Sealants are one part of a child's total preventive dental care. A complete preventive dental program also includes fluoride, twice-daily brushing, wise food choices, and regular dental care.

Why is sealing a tooth better than waiting
for decay and filling the cavity?


Decay damages teeth permanently. Sealants protect them. Sealants can save time, money, and the discomfort sometimes associated with dental fillings. Fillings are not permanent. Each time a tooth is filled, more drilling is done and the tooth becomes a little weaker.

How are sealants put on?


Decay damages teeth permanently. Sealants protect them. Sealants can save time, money, and the discomfort sometimes associated with dental fillings. Fillings are not permanent. Each time a tooth is filled, more drilling is done and the tooth becomes a little weaker.