Dental sealants are a protective coating that is applied to the biting surfaces of the back teeth. The sealant protects the tooth from getting a cavity by shielding against bacteria and plaque. Sealants are most commonly placed on children’s permanent teeth because they are more prone to cavities.
Dental sealants are thin plastic coatings that are applied to the grooves on the chewing surfaces of the back teeth. The sealant protects the tooth from getting a cavity by shielding against bacteria and plaque (tooth decay). Most tooth decay in children and teens occurs on these surfaces.
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.
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 shines a light on the tooth to help harden the sealant. It takes about a minute for the sealant to form a protective shield.
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.
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.
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.
Sealants are one part of a child’s total preventative dental care. A complete preventative dental program also includes fluoride, twice-daily brushing, wise food choices, and regular dental care.
Decay damages teeth permanently. Sealants protect them. Sealants can save time, money, and the discomfort sometimes associated with dental fillings. Sealants are not permanent. Each time a tooth is filled, more drilling is done and the tooth becomes a little weaker.
Call (505) 867-3999 and schedule you child for our sealant program today!