What are sealants?
Dentals sealants are used to protect the pits, fissures and grooves of teeth from bacteria.
The deep grooves in our teeth are difficult for toothbrush bristles to fully clean, especially on the molars in the back of our mouth. When left unclean, those grooves become very susceptible to bacteria that causes tooth decay and leads to cavities.
On average, children’s first adult teeth come in around 6 years old. It's very important to start protecting these teeth from damage as early as possible. Sealants are usually clear and they bond to the tooth to protect the groves from cavities.
How do sealants work?
Cleaning the deep grooves on the back of our teeth is difficult for everyone and even the most cooperative children will have trouble keeping them clean. Add that to the fact that food, candy, and bacteria can remain in these grooves, even after you've brushed your teeth, which leads to tooth decay.
By adding sealants to those grooves, we can effectively seal off the area and make it more shallow so that it's easy to thoroughly clean the area whenever brushing. Combined with proper cleaning, sealants are one of the simplest and most cost-effective solutions for preventing tooth decay.
How long do they last and which teeth should be sealed?
Clinical trials have shown that sealants can last several years if cared for properly. This offers protection for your children through the years that they are most susceptible to decay.
Dr. Marriott or Dr. Josh will check your child’s sealant at each cleaning appointment and keep you updated on when they might possibly need replaced, if they are starting to show signs of wear.
We recommend that all adult molars of 6 and 12 year-olds be sealed. We also recommend that some premolars with deep grooves be sealed, depending on the anatomy of your child's teeth.
However, all teeth can benefit with deep grooves can benefit from sealants at any age, because even baby teeth can decay when not cleaned thoroughly, causing pain and infection.
Can you still get cavities if you use sealants?
Sealants will close the pits and grooves on the top of teeth and make them easier to clean, but they still have to be cleaned for your child to receive the full benefit.
Proper brushing and flossing is required to prevent tooth decay. So yes, sealants do help tremendously, but nothing can prevent tooth decay if your child refuses to brush and floss their teeth.
Will sealants hurt and how long does it take?
Sealants are one of the simplest and easiest dental procedures. There's no need for anesthetic, because there is no pain involved. The entire procedure only takes a few minutes and can be done right in our Perkins dental office.
First we will do a thorough cleaning of the mouth and dry the teeth extremely well. Then the sealant is painted into the pits and grooves of the teeth and a blue light is used to “cure” or set the sealant in place.
At first the sealant might feel a strange to your child, because they aren't used to those grooves being more shallow, but within a few hours they will not even notice.
Sealants are a great opportunity for your child to have a positive first experience with the dentist, because the procedure is fast and painless.
Call now to schedule your child’s appointment (405) 708-6644.