In order to protect your child’s teeth from decay, Dr. Holladay may recommend dental sealants. These are a thin plastic coating that is applied to the chewing surface grooves of the back teeth. Because most tooth decay occurs in these locations for children and teens, sealants protect the surfaces by keeping germs and food particles out of the grooves.
Here are a few facts about sealants:
- Sealants are typically placed on permanent molars, first appearing at about 6 years of age, then a second round that appears at age 12. It is recommended that the sealant be applied shortly after the teeth have erupted to minimize the chance of decay.
- Sealants are applied by cleaning the teeth with a gel, then the sealant is placed, given about a minute to harden, and the process is complete.
- They are typically not seen while a child talks or smiles, and can only be seen from up close.
- Your child may feel them with their tongue, but as they are thin, they should not cause any discomfort.
- Sealants can last 5 to 10 years, and can be reapplied if necessary.
- It is still important to use fluoride for a more comprehensive form of cavity protection.
- Sealants are a part of a total preventive dentistry program that includes fluoride, twice-daily brushing, wise food choices and regular dental care.
- Sealants will prevent the permanent damage teeth experience due to decay, while also saving time, money and discomfort by filling cavities. They also help maintain the structural integrity of the tooth.