As your child’s permanent molars erupt, we will recommend placing sealants to protect their teeth from developing decay in the grooves of the chewing surfaces of their teeth. Here are some answers to frequently asked questions from parents…and kids!
WHAT ARE DENTAL SEALANTS?
Dental sealants are thin, tooth-colored plastic coatings that are placed in the grooves of the chewing surfaces of the permanent molars.
WHY ARE THEY PLACED?
The chewing surfaces of molars have deep grooves in them, which can make them difficult to keep clean. These grooves are deep but small and may not be easily cleaned with regular brushing, which allows plaque to accumulate in those areas and leaves those areas susceptible to decay.
WHEN ARE THEY PLACED?
Sealants are placed as your child’s permanent molars erupt, typically between the ages of 6 through early teenagerhood, but this can vary based on individual development.
HOW ARE THEY PLACED?
The process is simple and takes about 5 minutes per tooth! First, we polish the molars that will be sealed, very similar to when we polish your child’s teeth at their cleaning. Then, we apply a gel-like material called “etch” which is then rinsed/suctioned away. After that, the sealant material is applied with a tiny brush and then light-cured with a special blue light. We use a light that cures material in 3 seconds, which is just about all the time we have when we are working in busy little mouths!
DO SEALANTS CONTAIN BPA?
The sealant material that we use contains no BPA.
HOW LONG DO SEALANTS LAST?
Dental sealants can last many years…we’ve seen older adults who still have their sealants!
I THOUGHT FLUORIDE WAS APPLIED TO HELP PREVENT DECAY, SO WHY DOES MY CHILD NEED SEALANTS, TOO?
Great question! Fluoride is applied to all surfaces of all the teeth and helps protect and strengthen all the surfaces of those teeth, but only lasts 3-4 months (which is why we apply it to your child’s teeth at every cleaning). Dental sealants, on the other hand, stay in place and protect the surface area that they are placed on. As stated above, once applied, they can last many years.
AND ONE LAST FAQ, WHICH IS ON THE MINDS OF MOST CHILDREN…WILL IT HURT?
Not at all! We explain each step to our patients in an age-appropriate manner so they know what to expect. We show them our fun, tiny little paintbrushes and our light…when we are done, they can’t believe how fast it was!