Are you familiar with sealants? Pediatric dentists recommend that kids get this protection for permanent molars early. The “6-year molars” come in around age 5-7. The “12-year molars” appear between age 11-14. Sealants are thin plastic coatings applied to the chewing surfaces of a child’s back teeth. These help to prevent decay of those teeth. Insurance probably covers this procedure, and it is painless and quick.
How long do sealants last?
They can last up to ten years with proper care of the teeth and regular brushing.
Why does the dentist recommended sealants?
The back teeth have pits and grooves for chewing. Food particles can get stuck in those grooves and become more difficult to brush away. Bacteria and an increased likelihood of cavities result. Any tooth with pits and grooves can benefit, but it is most important to protect the 6- and 12-year permanent molars. Every child’s mouth is unique; your pediatric dentist can create a plan that works best.
Dentist’s process for applying dental sealants
- Thoroughly clean the tooth
- Place cotton around the tooth to keep it dry
- Apply a solution that makes the tooth surface a little bit rough
- Rinse and dry the tooth again
- Paint the plastic coating onto the tooth.
- Allow to dry and harden (sometimes a special light is used)
This process should not be scary for kids. It is an easy application with no pain.
Do children with dental sealants still have to brush and floss those teeth?
Yes! Sealants cover only the teeth that have received the protection and they are not a substitute for proper oral hygiene. Make sure your child also brushes at least twice per day, uses dental floss, limits snacks and makes healthy food choices. Remind your child that it takes proper care to maintain a healthy and clean smile.