Sealants protect the grooved and pitted surfaces of the teeth, especially the chewing surfaces of back teeth where most cavities in children are found. The deep grooves and pits of back teeth are very difficult to keep clean. Plaque, a nearly invisible film of bacteria and food, collects in these grooves. Every time you eat, the bacteria in plaque form acid. Without sealants, the acid can cause the enamel to break down, resulting in a cavity. Made of clear or shaded plastic, sealants are applied to the teeth to help keep them cavity-free. Sealants “seal out” food and plaque, thus reducing the risk of decay.
The application of a sealant is quick and comfortable. It takes only one visit. The tooth is first cleaned. It is then conditioned and dried. The sealant is then flowed onto the grooves of the tooth and allowed to harden with a special light. Your child will be able to eat right after the appointment.
Sealants can last for many years if properly cared for. Therefore, your child will be protected throughout the most cavity-prone years. If your child has good oral hygiene and avoids biting hard objects, sealants will last longer. Your pediatric dentist will check the sealants during routine dental visits and recommend re-application or repair when necessary.