When brushing and flossing aren't enough, dental sealants are applied to the chewing surfaces of children’s back teeth to help prevent tooth decay, which can result from plaque build up in the fissures and groove of the teeth.
Why Dental Sealants?
Teeth are not perfectly smooth; they have fissures and grooves where plaque and bacteria can build up without careful brushing and flossing. Everyone's fissures and grooves are unique.
In some children's teeth, the grooves and fissures are especially deep, and the toothbrush bristles may not be able to reach in far enough to remove the plaque building up in them.
Dentists recommend a sealant be applied in these cases so that the tooth decay and cavities that are the inevitable result of plaque buildup can be prevented.
How are sealants applied?
Sealants are quick and easy to apply. The dentist will ‘paint’ the sealant onto the surface of the tooth, and the sealant then bonds to the tooth, including in the pits and fissures, and hardens.
This creates a 'seal' or barrier that protects the enamel of the tooth from acid plaque. Once the sealant has hardened, the tooth surface will be protected from decay as long as the sealant remains intact.
How long do sealants last?
Dental sealants can last for many years under normal chewing patterns, and can be reapplied when they start wearing down. Your child's dentist will monitor the condition of the sealant during regular dental checkups, to make sure it’s still in good shape.