Sealants can be an important part of every child’s dental care. Sealants can help to protect the teeth, both baby teeth and adult molars, from decay throughout your child’s entire life.
What are sealants?
Dental sealants are a thin plastic covering that is applied to the chewing surface of the molars. The sealant attaches to the surface of the tooth and sinks into the grooves that are prone to cavities on the molars.
Why are sealants so important?
Sealants protect the chewing surface of your child’s teeth from decay. Our molars do the majority of the chewing and grinding of food, and they also have a lot of deep grooves in their surfaces, which makes them susceptible to tooth decay caused by leftover or trapped food. The sealants ‘seal’ out this food completely, creating a barrier in between the tooth and everything it comes in contact with. Daily brushing is still necessary with sealants, though you can rest a little easier knowing that the most vulnerable parts of your child’s molars are continually protected.
What is the process of getting sealants?
First, we will thoroughly clean the teeth that will have the sealant treatment. The teeth will be dried, and an absorbent material will be placed around the tooth so no moisture (saliva) gets in between the tooth and the sealant. The teeth are then roughened up with a slightly acidic substance(tooth soap), which will help create a stronger bond since a rougher surface has more grip than a smooth one. The teeth are cleaned, rinsed, and dried and a bonding agent is applied and dried. Then the sealant is painted onto the surface of the teeth, sinking into every nook and cranny. Once this is complete, a special light will be used to help the sealant harden. Dr. Pagé will inform you of any follow up information to care for your child’s sealants. Avoiding sticky, gooey foods is key to keeping sealants in place.
When should I get them?
Once your child’s molars come in, sealants should be on your to-do list. When the teeth grow in, they are usually perfectly free from any kind of decay or damage, and this is the state Dr. Pagé wants to preserve them in. The sooner the better! The sealant will protect the teeth against decay from the day they’re placed all the way through adulthood when properly cared for. We will check sealants at every 6 month visit to make sure they are still intact and do not need repaired.