Dental Sealants

If you are a parent with a child showing off a smile with some gaps, you have probably been asked about dental sealants. But how do you know if your child needs them?

According to National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research and the U.S Department of Health and Human Services, “Children should get sealants on their permanent molars as soon as the teeth come in — before decay attacks the teeth. Other teeth with pits and grooves also might need to be sealed. Teenagers and young adults who are prone to decay may also need sealants.”

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In case you are wondering, why dental sealants placed on the top of teeth- Colgate explains, “The chewing surfaces of the molar and premolar teeth have grooves — “fissures” — that make them vulnerable to decay. These fissures can be deep, are difficult to clean, and can be narrower than even a single bristle of a toothbrush. Plaque accumulates in these areas, and the acid from bacteria in the plaque attacks the enamel and cavities can develop. Fluoride helps prevent decay and helps protect all the surfaces of the teeth, dental sealants provide extra protection for the grooved and pitted areas by providing a smooth surface covering over the fissured area.”

Designed to protect your teeth from tooth decay and cavities, dental sealant are a thin, plastic coating painted on the top (chewing surfaces) of teeth — usually the back teeth (the premolars and molars) — The sealant quickly bonds into the depressions and grooves of the teeth, forming a protective shield over the enamel of each tooth. Getting sealants put on is simple and painless. Once the tooth has been cleaned and dried, the sealants are painted on as a liquid and quickly harden to form a shield over the tooth. 40 percent of U.S. dentists applying sealants to kids at their practices and sealants are less expensive than fillings.

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