What is a dental sealant?
A sealant is a liquid plastic resin that is applied to the surface of the 6 and 12-year old molars. These teeth are at a higher risk of developing decay due to the deep grooves on the surface of the teeth. When the tooth is sealed, the tiny grooves and pits become a smooth surface and are less likely to develop decay and harbor plaque.
How are dental sealants applied to children’s teeth?
Dental sealants are typically applied to children’s teeth once the permanent teeth have erupted. This is a preventive step to help prevent tooth decay in the molars. The sealant can only be applied to the chewing surface of the teeth because the liquid plastic is designed to flow into and fill the pits and grooves of the teeth. It will not be effective on the smooth surfaces of the teeth.
To apply the sealant, the tooth is dried with cotton. The liquid sealant is painted onto the tooth and an UV light is used to activate the liquid plastic to harden. Sealants have also been referred to as a protective nail polish for the teeth.
How long do dental sealants last in children?
Dental sealants may last up to 10 years, but 2-4 years is a more reasonable estimate. Sealants can provide 100% protection from decay on the chewing surface of the teeth. Research has shown that when a sealant is placed over very minimal decay, the decay will no longer progress. It is important to see your dentist every six months for a check-up and the sealants will be evaluated to ensure that they are fully intact. If the sealant comes off, your dentist can reapply it.
How much do dental sealants cost in children?
Dental sealants are a cost effective treatment in preventing tooth decay in children. Sealing a tooth costs less than dental filling. Also, applying sealants is a simple procedure that requires no numbing medication or drilling. Please inquire at your pediatric dental office for the cost of applying sealants.
Cavity Prevention in Children
To aid in the prevention of dental decay in children, encourage your child to brush twice daily with fluoride toothpaste. Teach them how to floss everyday and consult with your dentist about using fluorinated mouth rinses. Avoid sugary foods such as candy and soda and see a dentist every six months for regular check-ups.
Please contact our office if you have any questions.