What is a sealant?
Sealants are a clear plastic like coating that flow into the grooves on the top or chewing surface of the molars and bond to the teeth.
How do sealants work?
Sealants flow into the microscopic grooves and pits of the teeth. Even with the best brushing, it can be difficult to clean out these tiny grooves. By covering up these grooves with a sealant, a barrier is formed preventing food and cavity causing bacteria from adhering to the tooth; and thus, reducing the risk of a cavity.
Can sealants be placed on all teeth?
No. Sealants follow into the grooves of the chewing surface of the teeth. They are primarily placed on the permanent first, or 6 year molars, and permanent second, or 12 year molars. They are sometimes placed on the permanent premolars if the teeth have deep grooves.
Can Sealants be placed on baby teeth?
While sealants can be placed on baby teeth, the baby molars generally don’t have the same deep grooves that permanent molars have. The pits and crevices are much shallower allowing for them to be more easily cleaned.
How is a sealant placed?
Placing a sealant is a fairly simple non-invasive procedure. The tooth is firs cleaned and isolated to keep it dry. The enamel is then conditioned with a bonding agent or tooth etch. A thin layer of the sealant is then placed over the biting surface and allowed to flow into the grooves. A curing light is then used to harden the sealant and complete the bonding procedure. No local anesthesia is needed to place sealants.
Do sealants last forever?
Sealants can last for a very long time with proper care. If your child practices good oral hygiene and avoids biting on hards objects (such as chewing on ice), a sealant will last much longer. Sealants will slowly break down over time and need to be replaced. We will check on them at your child’s routine appointment.
Does my child still have to brush and floss?
Yes. While sealants help protect bacteria from entering the grooves of the teeth, they do not prevent cavities entirely. In addition, sealants do not protect in between the teeth, a very common area for cavities to form. Brushing, flossing, and a balanced diet are still essential to maintaining healthy teeth and gums.