What Are Dental Sealants?

There is a lot of complicated verbiage in dentistry, keeping track of the various procedures, tools, and applications you can have provided for your teeth can get tricky. So we're here to remind you, what sealants are in the dental field and what they do for you and your kids dental hygiene and oral health! 

By definition, a dental sealant is a thin coating of plastic that is applied to the chewing surfaces of back teeth, which are the molars and premolars. Those back teeth have have grooves and rivets where food particles and bacteria can collect. When ignored, this accumulation of food and bacteria can lead to tooth decay. Sealants fill in the grooves, preventing the accumulation of food and bacteria and protecting the teeth against decay. 

Sealants For Children 

All teeth are susceptible to decaying from the moment they emerge from the gums so acting early on to prevent tooth decay is a good idea. Molars begin to grow in around age 6, with secondary molars growing around age 12. To provide the most protection, it is recommended that sealants are applied as soon as the teeth are visible. This may seem early but applying sealants is a very non-invasive procedure that does nothing but guard your child's teeth from excess food and particles remaining stuck in their teeth. 

How They Are Applied 

Applying sealants is a very simple procedure. There is no need to drill or even numb the teeth. The teeth are first cleaned and properly prepared, after which the tooth is dried and several coatings of the sealant material are applied to the tooth surface.  A special light may be used to harden the dental sealant. The procedure only takes a few minutes per tooth. Sealants can be white, clear or slightly tinted. Once applied, sealants are not usually noticeable, except under close inspection.

How Long Do Sealants Last? 

Sealants are highly durable and can last up to 10 years. Your child’s dentist will check on the sealants during each dentist visit to make sure they are in good condition. Because sealants can wear or become damaged over time, it is important to have sealants repaired or replaced during the time sealants are needed to protect the teeth. 


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