A lot of parents ask about sealants. Here’s Dr. Roberts with the answers to the 7 most common questions.
1. What is the purpose of sealants?
A sealant is a protective coating that is applied to the surface of the tooth.
2. How do sealants work?
The point is to literally seal out the cavity-causing bacteria found in plaque and also seal out food debris which leads to decay.
The molars in the back of your child’s mouth have deep grooves and pits that trap food and bacteria. That’s the most common area for children to have decay.
A sealant prevents that from happening by blocking the bacteria from getting trapped in those deep grooves. It also keeps the food and debris from the deep grooves and therefore prevents cavities.
3. What are sealants made of?
The sealant material itself is a composite resin made of the same material that fillings are made of.
It’s very safe and non-toxic for children and people of all shapes and sizes.
4. What part of the tooth does it protect?
The sealant acts as a preventive barrier or physical barrier for the biting or chewing surface of the teeth.
So your child can still get decay on the other sides of her tooth and in-between the teeth where she is supposed to be flossing. A sealant does not protect those areas. So it’s only the biting surface of the tooth that is protected.
But since the chewing area is the most common area for kids to have decay, sealants protect that from happening.
5. Are sealants applied to baby teeth or permanent teeth?
A sealant is usually applied to the permanent molars. However, we do offer sealants for baby teeth, and I place them on a regular basis.
6. How long does the sealant last?
The lifespan of the sealant is typically 3 to 5 years, depending on how much ice and hard crunchy food your child chews.
7. Should my child have sealants put on her teeth?
The only way to know for sure is to schedule an appointment. However, in general, the vast majority of children will benefit from having sealants placed.