At Dental Care for Kids, dental sealants are protective coatings that are applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth to prevent cavities from forming. The grooves of the molars are difficult to clean, so many patients experience cavity formation over time despite regular brushing and flossing. When placed, the sealant acts as a barrier against food particles and plaque buildup, reducing the number of bacteria on the teeth and the risk of cavities. They are typically applied during a child’s early permanent molars erupt around age six, but adults can also benefit from using dental sealants.
The Process of Applying Dental Sealants
The dental hygienist or dentist thoroughly cleans the teeth that will receive sealants. This cleaning ensures the tooth surfaces are free from plaque, food particles, or debris. Once the teeth are clean and dry, the dentist may apply an etching gel or liquid to the chewing surfaces of the teeth. This etching solution creates a slightly rough surface on the enamel, which helps the sealant material adhere better to the tooth. The dentist will apply the liquid sealant material onto the chewing surfaces of the teeth. They may use a brush or a small applicator to spread the sealant evenly across the grooves and pits. The sealant is typically a tooth-colored or clear resin material that bonds to the tooth enamel. After applying the sealant material, the dentist will use a special curing light to harden and set the sealant. The light activates the sealant material, causing it to bond securely to the tooth surface. Once the sealant is cured, the dentist will check its placement and make any necessary adjustments. They will ensure that the sealant covers all the vulnerable areas of the tooth and is properly sealed.
Are Sealants Safe?
Yes, sealants are generally considered safe and nontoxic to teeth. Dental sealants are applied to the chewing surfaces of back teeth and are a great way to prevent cavities on kids’ molars. This safe, inexpensive, and effective procedure only takes a few minutes. Sealants are made of plastic that coats the tooth to protect it from plaque and bacteria. This coating prevents food particles and sugars from being trapped on the tooth’s surface and causing decay. The plastic resin material comes in colors that make the sealants nearly invisible when your child smiles.
The primary purpose of sealants is to protect the teeth from cavities. Visit Dental Care for Kids at 3235 N Towerbridge Way Suite #200, Meridian, ID 83646, or call (208) 888-7711 to determine if sealants suit your child's teeth and to discuss the best timing for their application.