Teaching your child to brush and floss regularly and properly can take some time, but it doesn’t take long for harmful plaque and bacteria to damage their teeth. Baby teeth play a critical role in the alignment of permanent teeth, speech development and proper chewing skills, and keeping them free of decay is important.
Why dental sealants are important?
Tooth decay often occurs on the chewing surfaces of the back teeth because these teeth have pits and grooves that can trap plaque and food. To prevent this decay, we recommend dental sealants for the back teeth — particularly the molars.
What are dental sealants?
Dental sealant is a hard plastic coating applied to the chewing surfaces of the teeth. This creates a barrier that protects the teeth from acid and plaque.
When should children get dental sealants?
Children should receive sealants on permanent molars as soon as they have fully erupted, usually between 6 and 12 years of age.
How are sealants applied?
The application of sealants only takes a few minutes to seal each tooth. The tooth is cleaned and dried, then the sealant is painted onto the chewing surface of the tooth. A special curing light is then used to harden the sealant. It’s simple, painless, requires no drilling or numbing and lasts for about 2 to 5 years. Chipping and other forms of wear and tear are normal, so reapplication might be necessary. They can be highly effective in protection against cavities and should be checked by your pediatric dentist during regular checkups.
As easy and effective as it is, dental sealants are only one part of dental care. Even with sealants, it is possible that your child may still get tooth decay, especially between teeth where the sealant cannot be placed. Staying on top of your child’s dental care at home and proper nutrition, are the best ways to stop tooth decay before it starts.