A sealant is a thin, plastic coating applied to the teeth's biting surfaces to prevent decay and cavities. The chewing surfaces of your molars have deep pits and fissures that can trap food particles and allow bacteria to grow. Once applied, the sealant forms a strong bond on the surfaces and helps prevent the development of tooth decay. At Carlston Dental Group, sealants are often used on the back teeth, which are more challenging to clean through brushing alone. However, they may also be placed on any tooth prone to developing cavities or deep grooves. Ask your family dentist if sealants suit you or your loved ones.
The Procedure for Sealants
A dental sealant is a thin plastic coating that can be brushed onto the chewing surfaces of back teeth, where it bonds with the natural grooves of the tooth. The smoother surface of molars makes them easier to clean than the fronts of teeth. However, these teeth can still be subject to decay and plaque buildup, so it’s essential to consider sealants for your child’s permanent molars as soon as they come in.
Typically, children should get sealants on their permanent first molars between six and twelve years old. These teeth are vulnerable to cavities because the soft tissue in their mouths is thinner than in other sections of the mouth, making them less resistant to damage. Sealants also help prevent your child from getting tooth decay in these teeth by acting as a barrier against bacteria from sugary foods and liquids like juice. Sealants are painless to apply; they only take a few minutes per tooth. First, the tooth will be thoroughly cleaned and dried before using the sealant material. A special light may help the sealant material bond with the tooth. Once it hardens, the sealant creates a smooth barrier between the tooth and the bacteria and food particles. Reapplication may be necessary every several years as your child’s teeth shift and grow.
The Advantages of Using Sealants
Most patients don’t fully understand the value of sealants. Knowing that you’ve had them placed and received the best preventive care possible should give you peace of mind, but there are other benefits to consider. Tooth decay is gradual, so when the cavity first begins to develop, you may not experience any pain. When a dentist finds early signs of tooth decay, they can place a dental sealant to block the bacteria from penetrating the tooth’s enamel. This allows your teeth to stay protected and prevents further decay from occurring. Visiting the dentist every six months for checkups and professional cleaning helps to ensure that this protection lasts for as long as possible.
If you want to learn more about how sealants can help protect your teeth, Carlston Dental Group at 2472 Overland Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90064, or call (310) 838-0844 to schedule a consultation appointment today.