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Teeth Sealants

Overview

A dental or tooth sealant is a thin white or transparent coating that protects the biting surfaces of the premolars and molars; the back teeth where food grinding occurs. These surfaces are the most common areas where tooth decay will occur, especially in children. Premolars and molars contain dental fissures and pits where food and plaque build-up, and eventually cause dental caries. These crevices have different shapes and can be so deep as to not allow toothbrush bristles to properly clean these areas. Consequently, they become ideal areas for bacterial growth and plaque formation. Teeth (or dental) sealants help to keep this from occurring, by sealing these areas and blocking the build-up of bacteria, plaque, and food.

Sealant Uses

Teeth sealants are placed mostly on the premolars and molars of children. They are considerably less expensive than fillings and are very efficient. Dentists generally suggest the placement of sealants on the child's permanent (6 year) molar when they erupt into the mouth. As these are the teeth that are most frequently decayed, the placement of sealants on these teeth are very crucial. The teeth must be completely dried when the sealants are placed, otherwise they will fail.

It is usually suggested by the dentist to have sealants placed, on both the premolars and molars, if you child has an increased risk for dental caries. Premolars are the smaller teeth immediately anterior to the molar teeth. Usually, the dentist doesn�t recommend dental sealants for baby teeth. However, they can be placed in high risk children. These sealants often are suggested for adults at a higher risk of dental caries. The dentist will let you know if you fit into this category.

Dental Sealant Preparation

Dental sealant application is a painless and quick dental treatment performed during a regular dental appointment. No anaesthesia is required. It is crucial that the children sit still during sealant placement to keep the teeth dry and allow proper placement of the sealants.

Sealant Procedure

The areas to be sealed will be cleaned by the dentist or dental hygienist and the teeth to be sealed will be isolated to keep them dry. Sealants are then placed using a small brush or applicator in the form or liquid so that it reaches all of the pit and fissure areas. A dental light is used to set-up the sealants. This usually takes between 20-60 seconds.

Post-Procedure

Sealants may last for up to 15 years. At the times of your child's regular check-ups, the dentist checks both the teeth and the sealants to make sure they are in good condition. Dental sealants work well, however there are other things you can do to make sure that your child doesn't get cavities. For instance, good oral hygiene is very important.

While dental sealants reduce dental caries, they do not prevent all cavities without additional aid. Performing very good oral hygiene, while at home, is required to aid in the prevention of dental caries. This is also true for adults with sealants. Make sure to brush and floss twice daily, and visit the dentist for regular check-ups.

  • Dentists recommend that you have you child; brush and floss twice daily, consume adequate fluoride, and visit the dentist for regular check-ups.

Dangers

On very rare occasions, children may be allergic to the sealents or their components (i.e., plastic).

Talk to the Doc

Visit your dentist to find out if or when your child will be ready for sealants. Inquire about the benefits of sealants. If your dentist does not bring up the topic of sealants, make sure that you ask about them. It could be advantageous to your child�s oral health, and save you time and money.