Why are sealants so important for my child?
Why do your kids need sealants?
Around age 6 your child will begin to see the eruption of their first adult molar teeth. Once they get closer to 12, their next round of molars will come in. Because these teeth have so many pits, fissures and grooves, they are especially susceptible to cavities. To combat the start of tooth decay, we recommend placing sealants as soon as the teeth erupt and your child is able to tolerate the procedure.
Purpose of a sealant:
A sealant is a white plastic coating that is placed on the chewing surfaces of the back teeth to help stop tooth decay. The material is closely related to traditionally filling material but is designed to flow into the deepest pits and fissures of the tooth.
Placing the sealant:
A sealant is a preventative procedure and is not invasive. We first need to clean and dry the surface of the tooth. Any debris or saliva can inhibit the bond of the sealant to the tooth. We then place a conditioning solution on the tooth for around 30 seconds before thoroughly rinsing and drying the area. The sealant material is then brushed into the necessary parts of the tooth before becoming hardened with a special light.
How long should a sealant last?
Some adults will still find sealants on their back teeth 10 or 15 years after their original placement. And if they are still there, there is no reason to remove them. However, due to a variety of factors, many sealants will need to be replaced every 2-5 years. A lot depends on the anatomy of the tooth and the habits of the child. We usually recommend having sealants on the molars at least until the age of 14 or 15. It has been shown to reduce the potential of tooth decay by over 70% vs. kids without sealants.
Do other teeth need sealants besides the molars?
Depending on the formation of the teeth or a high propensity toward developing cavities, we may recommend fillings on other teeth. Bicuspids and upper front teeth will often be sealed due to their unique anatomy.