Post 44 – Dental Sealants

What are Dental Sealants?

Sealants are painted over the teeth. These are basically a thin protective coating that can easily flow into the nooks and crannies of the teeth. Once light is applied to harden the material on the teeth, sealants will stay in place and prevent food and plaque to accumulate. A good analogy would be to that of sealing any cracks in your exterior wall to prevent water from getting inside.

Why are sealants necessary?

Sealants are a very cost efficient way to greatly reduce the incident of caries formation for children from around 6 to 12 years of age. The procedure does not require any injection. First the deep grooves need to be thoroughly cleaned; otherwise, the sealant will not properly adhere.

Good home care is always the best way to prevent cavities, but it is not always easy to make sure your children do a good job brushing their teeth. To make the matter worse, the top surface of the back teeth (molars) could have very prominent deeply pitted and grooved ridge anatomy. This allows food particles to stick to these nook and crannies and since children do not spend sufficient time brushing these areas, they are more susceptible to develop caries.

How long will sealants last?

Sealant material is not meant to stay in place forever. The idea is to seal the grooves until the patient reaches an age when good home care can be implemented. Sealants will eventually wear out or fall out over the course of a few years; although, they could last longer depending on other factors. Also, depending on the age of the patient, they can be reapplied but typically sealants are not placed as you get close to 16 years of age.

Are sealants for everybody?

Sealants are primarily meant to be used on children. It is best to place them as new teeth erupt. The 1st molars erupt around age 6 and the 2nd molars around age 12. If we would need to seal a tooth on an adult, it is preferred to use stronger materials such as those used for regular fillings.

Are there any side effects?

There are no side effects associated with sealants.

If your child is between 6 to 12 years of age, call our office in Royal Palm Beach to schedule your child’s sealant appointment and prevent future caries.