Fissure and Pit Sealant for your child
Most tooth decay in children's teeth occurs in the pits and grooves found on the chewing surfaces of teeth. As such, your dentist may suggest using dental sealants on your child's back teeth to protect them from decay. Dental sealants have been shown to prevent decay on tooth surfaces with pits and grooves where food and dental plaque can stick to the tooth.
What is a Dental Sealant?
A dental sealant is a material that coats the tooth, thereby covering the vulnerable pits and grooves. Sealants are routinely placed on the chewing surfaces of back teeth of children to prevent cavities. The sealant bonds into the pits and grooves and acts as a barrier, protecting the enamel from dental plaque and acids that cause tooth decay. Sealants are generally not used on teeth that already have fillings. Sealants should be used as part of a child's total preventive dental care, which includes good oral hygiene, healthy food choices, optimal fluoride exposure and regular dental visits.
How Does a Sealant Prevent Decay?
Dental sealants are not meant to replace a good oral hygiene routine. Thorough brushing and flossing help to remove food particles and dental plaque from smooth surfaces of teeth, but toothbrush bristles cannot reach all the way into the pits and grooves. Sealants protect these high-risk areas by "sealing out" dental plaque and food. Because decay destroys the structure of the tooth, sealants will help keep teeth sound and intact. Appropriate use of sealants can save time and money and can reduce the need for dental fillings.
Do dental sealants replace fluoride?
No. Fluorides, such as those used in community water, toothpaste, gels, varnish and mouthwash,also help to prevent decay. Fluoride works best on smooth surfaces of teeth. The back teeth have tiny grooves where decay often begins. Sealants keep cavity-causing bacteria out of the grooves by covering them with a safe plastic coating. Dental sealants and fluorides work together to prevent tooth decay.
How is a dental sealant placed?
A sealant is placed by a dental health professional. The procedure is simple, painless and only takes a short time. The tooth is cleaned and treated with a solution that allows the sealant to stick to the tooth. The sealant is painted on as a liquid and quickly hardens to form a shield over the tooth. Sometimes a special curing light is used to help the sealant harden.
How long will a sealant last?
As long as the sealant remains in place, the tooth surface will be protected from decay. Sealants hold up well under the force of normal chewing and usually last several years before another application is needed. Your dentist will check the sealant during your child's regular dental visits to see if it needs to be replaced.
Sealants for Your Child
Most tooth decay in children's teeth occurs in the pits and grooves found on the chewing surfaces of teeth. As such, your dentist may suggest using dental
sealants on your child's back teeth to protect them from decay. Dental sealants have been shown to prevent decay on tooth surfaces with pits and grooves where food and dental plaque can stick to the tooth.
When should my child get dental sealants?
Talk with your dentist about the use of dental sealants on your child's teeth to help prevent tooth decay. Placing sealants on teeth shortly after they erupt protects the teeth from
developing caries in areas that are hard to brush, where food and bacteria collect.
Are dental sealants just for kids?
Because pit and fissure decay begins early in life, children and teenagers are obvious candidates for dental sealants. But some adults with a high risk of decay can benefit from sealants as well. Talk to your dentist about the benefits of using a dental sealant.