How Sealants Precent Cavities in Children and Teens

Dental sealants are a great way to protect your growing child’s teeth from cavities. Sealants can prevent decay by as much as 80 percent, according to the American Dental Association (ADA.) A relatively recent advance in children’s dentistry, sealants help avoid much more costly dental restorations. It’s a win-win!

Dental sealants are protective plastic coatings applied to the chewing surfaces of primary (baby) and permanent (adult) molars to prevent tooth crevices from trapping food particles and bacteria. Sealants are recommended by the ADA and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD).

Sealants Prevent Decay

Sealants act as a barrier to food, plaque and acid to protect the decay-prone areas of the teeth. The back teeth are the ones that are most likely to show signs of decay, so it is important to take this extra step to help protect them.

Sealants are applied when molars erupt beyond the gums, generally between five and 10 years of age. They and are not typically visible when a child laughs, talks, or smiles. While sealants can last for many years, they need to be maintained and evaluated for wear, and occasionally require touch-ups. 

How sealants are applied. First, the tooth is cleaned and dried, and then coated with a gel formula. When the gel dries, the tooth is then brushed with sealant resin, which is also allowed to dry. Sealants can be white, clear, or slightly tinted to match the color of the tooth, and are not typically noticed when you laugh, talk, or smile.

No pain, no drilling A good deal of skill is required of the pediatric dentist to apply the sealant properly. The application of dental sealants is a pain-free process. There is no drilling or removal of any part of the tooth structure during the process. Depending upon the specific type of material used, the sealant may be hardened by exposure to light.

Dental sealants, combined with good oral hygiene habits, healthy eating, and regular professional dental cleanings, are a great way to help keep your child's teeth healthy and strong throughout their lives.