Sealing out tooth decay
Dental sealants are an important tool in preventing cavities in newly erupted molar teeth. Especially when used in combination with other preventive measures, like twice yearly checkups, good home care and health diet, sealants are an effective way to protect teeth.
How do sealants protect children’s teeth?
When adult molars first erupt, they have natural ridges and deep grooves. These grooves will wear down over time and over years of chewing. But in young children, whose brushing habits may not be ideal, the natural grooves are perfect places for food and bacteria to accumulate.
Dental sealants effectively seal the grooves and prevent food and bacteria from penetrating. Molars are five times more likely to develop cavities than front teeth, primarily due to these deep grooves. Oftentimes, the grooves are so narrow that regular toothbrush bristles cannot penetrate down inside. That is where sealants can be so beneficial, acting as a barrier.
How are sealants applied?
First the teeth to be sealed are cleaned to remove any debris that may be stuck in the deep grooves. When the sealant is placed, a special led light is used to harden and adhere the sealant to the tooth. Most sealants are white in color so as to be visible to the dentist when the child returns for future appointments.
When should sealants be applied?
Sealants are typically placed on adult molars when they first erupt. The first set of four is placed at about age 6. The next set of four is at about age 12.
The placement of sealants does not involve the use of numbing or noisy dental tools, which can sometimes be frightening for young patients.
In dr. Blazer’s office, we like to include our young patients in the process, letting them look at everything before we do the procedure, so that they understand what is going on. It’s a great “first experience” for school age children, helping to create positive experiences in a dental setting.
If you have questions or concerns about dental sealants, please feel free to reach out to our office.