A sealant is a thin plastic coating painted onto the back teeth where decay is most likely. They effectively “seal out” food and bacteria from getting into the tiny grooves of the molar and premolar surfaces of the teeth, preventing them from getting cavities. At Restoration Smiles: Adult & Pediatric Dentistry, we generally apply sealants in one appointment, providing an easy, pain-free solution for preventing tooth decay in children.
Dental sealants are especially important for children because they have a hard time properly brushing their teeth on their own until they reach the age of about seven years old. Younger children are still developing dexterity and often struggle to get every nook and cranny of their teeth with a toothbrush. They are also more likely to have poor oral hygiene habits and less likely to brush and floss regularly.
For children and adult patients alike, sealants can provide peace of mind in knowing they are protected from the damaging effects of tooth decay. Their molars are also better protected from damage caused by grinding or clenching their teeth at night while sleeping.
How Are Sealants Applied?
Sealants are applied as a preventive measure, meaning they are used to healthy teeth to prevent cavities from developing. Typically, children receive the first application of sealants between the ages of 6 and 14. After this initial application, your doctor may recommend re-application every several years or as deemed appropriate by your dentist.
The procedure only takes a few minutes per tooth. First, we clean the tooth’s surface and remove plaque or tartar. Our dentist then paints the sealant onto the surface of the tooth. Once it’s dried, your child can chew on the treated teeth as usual.
Most children need sealants on molars only, but our dentist may also recommend them on other teeth. Baby teeth eventually fall out, but the sealants can protect the permanent teeth that grow afterward.
The Benefits of Sealants
When bacteria and food particles stick in the grooves of your teeth, they can be difficult to remove by simple brushing and flossing. When they accumulate, it can lead to tooth decay. Dental sealants are plastic coatings that fill in the grooves and form a protective barrier against acids and plaque that food particles and bacteria form. This enables you to prevent decay from forming in those pits and crevices. Children are often the best candidates for having dental sealants put onto their back teeth and premolars.
Dental sealants are a safe, simple solution for helping ensure your child’s smile stays healthy for years to come! Visit Restoration Smiles: Adult & Pediatric Dentistry at 2 Coolidge St, Suite 202, Hudson, MA 01749, or call (508) 658-0661 for the best care.