Children are particularly prone to cavities since they are still developing good eating and oral hygiene habits. Fortunately, dental sealants are a great way to prevent cavity formation on molars. They are particularly effective for children, but they can also benefit adults with no fillings or decay on their molars.
What are dental sealants?
A dental sealant is a thin layer of resin that coats a teeth’s chewing surface. Though they can be used on any teeth, they primarily benefit the molars since molars have the largest chewing surface. Sealant forms a barrier over the tooth’s enamel, shielding it from food particles and plaque. By protecting the deep depressions and grooves on the molar that are hard to reach by brushing, sealant decreases the chances of cavities in those areas.
When should my child get sealants?
Children can get sealants as soon as their adult teeth start coming in. Most children tend to have cavities from ages six to fourteen, so sealants can protect their teeth during these years. Sealants can also be used on baby teeth if the teeth have hard-to-reach depressions and grooves, though keep in mind the sealant will need to be applied again to the adult teeth. Baby teeth are important in maintaining the correct spacing for the eruption of permanent teeth, so ensuring their health is essential.
What is the procedure for applying dental sealants?
The procedure takes only a few minutes, perfect for restless children.
- The teeth are cleaned, then dried with cotton or other absorbent materials.
- The dentist places an acid solution on the chewing surface. This roughens the texture of the tooth, helping the sealant establish a firm bond. The tooth is again rinsed and dried.
- The sealant is painted onto the enamel. Within a few minutes, it bonds to the tooth. Sometimes, your dentist uses a special curing light to speed up the hardening process.
Sealants last up to ten years, though it is important to return for regular check-ups that check for signs of chipping and wear.
Sealants are a great option to save the time and cost of future dental work. If you or your child could benefit from sealants, don’t hesitate to call Atlantic Family Dentistry at (973) 450-4400. We are always available to answer questions.