Dental sealants are thin, plastic coatings that act as a barrier to protect teeth. The sealants starts as a liquid or gel which is painted onto teeth, usually the molars and premolars, and melds into the grooves of the teeth before hardening and bonding with each tooth surface. The process is simple, quick and painless. First, the tooth is cleaned and dried, then a solution is placed on the surface of the tooth so that the sealant can adhere easier to the tooth. Next, the tooth is rinsed and dried off and the sealant is applied which quickly hardens to the surface of the tooth and begins protecting it immediately.
It’s recommended that children get sealants on their permanent molars as soon as they break through the gums and become vulnerable to decay. The first molars usually begin to appear between the ages of 5 and 7 and the next set of molars usually come in between 11 and 14 years old. For some children, sealants may be recommended on their baby teeth as well.
One of the most common places for tooth decay to occur is in the molars and premolars located in the back of the mouth. These teeth can be harder to clean due to the deep grooves and location of the teeth. When sealants are applied to the teeth, they flow into these grooves and then harden, protecting each tooth from bacteria.
How long sealants last depend on how rough each individual is on their teeth. While they have the potential to last up to 10 years, it’s important to have them checked regularly at dental check-ups to be sure they are still in place and have not chipped or come off completely. They’re easy to repair if this is the case.
Want to learn more about dental sealants or need to schedule an appointment for your child to have their molars sealed and safe from cavities? Call us today at 623-748-5162.