Teeth contain grooves and depressions that form the chewing surfaces of the back teeth. These “fissures” are extremely difficult to clean and virtually impossible to remove all bacteria and food particles from. Acids form as the bacteria react with food. These acids break down tooth enamel, causing cavities. Research studies have shown that as much as 88% of cavities occurring in American school children are caused this way.
Dental sealants are protective coverings that prevent bacteria and food particles from living in the grooves and depressions of teeth. Sealant material is a resin that is applied to those areas prone to cavities. Sealants can last for several years. By applying sealants, families can prevent decay and save on the costs associated with filling cavities. If you plan to get dental sealants, the CDC recommends doing so shortly after the molars have erupted from the gums, usually beginning around age 6.
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Sealants may be right for your child if he or she has molars that are healthy and free of decay. Schedule a dental consultation for a complete examination to determine if dental sealants could be a preventative health solution for your child.
Your child will not experience any pain when sealants are placed. The teeth will be thoroughly cleaned and treated with a special gel before the sealant is painted on and cured. Although your child may at first feel the sealants on his or her teeth, the sealants are very thin and easy to adapt to.
Normal eating habits can be resumed after dental sealants are applied. The sealants will be checked at every dental appointment for deterioration. Sealants that are damaged or missing can be replaced.