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How Do Dental Sealants Work?

Teeth that have deep grooves and depressions such as molars are susceptible to decay as bacteria can make it into the tiny crevices and stay there. It is hard to clean these areas using a toothbrush and floss. The good news is that dental sealants work well to protect your child’s chewing surfaces from cavities. They can even stop the early stages of decay from progressing. It is always better to be preventative when it comes to your child’s teeth rather than have to deal with dental issues down the road.

 

What Are Dental Sealants and How Do They Work?

Dental sealants are made of a white or transparent plastic material. They are molded to the chewing surfaces of permanent back teeth known as premolars and molars for protection. The idea is that the sealants will cover the pits, grooves, and fissures in the tooth to prevent sugars, acid, and bacteria from getting into them and causing decay. Dental sealants act as physical barriers between destructive bacteria and the vulnerable parts of the teeth, adding an extra level of protection.

 

Are Dental Sealants Effective?

Dental sealants have been proven to reduce the risk of cavities in treated teeth. According to the American Dental Association, research demonstrates that coating the biting surface of 6-year molars with a resin-based sealant can immediately reduce cavities by about 80% and up to 60% for four years or more.

 

When Are Dental Sealants Applied?

It’s best to have dental sealants applied as early as possible to avoid having bacteria trapped in the teeth grooves and before any decay develops. That means that the best time to start with sealants is around the age of six when the child’s permanent molars start to come in. Protecting molars from the start significantly reduces the chances of getting cavities or worse dental problems later on.

 

What Is the Procedure?

Applying dental sealants is a quick and painless procedure. We will start by cleaning the tooth thoroughly with a paste and rotating brush, then rinse it with water and dry it carefully. We will apply an acidic solution to the fissured area of the tooth’s chewing surface for a few seconds before rinsing it off. The solution roughens up the surface at the microscopic level to enable the sealants to attach to the tooth. After drying the tooth again, we will place the dental sealants onto the prepared area and will use a light to harden the material. Once the sealants harden, your child can chew on the treated tooth.

 

How Long Do Sealants Last?

Dental sealants can last for up to ten years, or even longer, but need to be frequently checked by a dentist to ensure no cracks develop. If the sealants are worn down or if any damage occurs, replacement sealants may be required to continue protecting the tooth from decay.

 

Preventative Care Starts Here!

Contact us at Smile Explorers Pediatric Dentistry to learn more about dental sealants and how they can protect your child’s teeth. Our experienced and caring team is dedicated to your child’s safety and comfort. We strive to keep your child’s teeth healthy for a lifetime! Schedule your appointment today!