At Beautiful Smiles, we pride ourselves on treating every member of the family, especially children. We offer some preventative services to keep your child’s teeth healthy and provide a strong foundation that will follow them into adulthood. In addition to routine cleanings, polishes, and fluoride treatment, we offer dental sealants to protect their teeth from the harmful effects of tooth decay.
What are Dental Sealants?
Dental sealants are thin, plastic coatings that are typically placed onto the chewing surfaces of the permanent molars and premolars. These coatings will protect the teeth from decay. The chewing or occlusal surfaces of these teeth tend to be more difficult to clean for children. This is because the molars and premolars have deep grooves or “fissures” that make them more vulnerable to decay.
Over time, plaque can accumulate in the deep grooves if they are not protected or properly cleaned. The acid from the bacteria in plaque will eat away at the enamel and eventually cause cavities to develop. While fluoride treatment helps to prevent decay on all surfaces of the tooth, a dental sealant will provide extra protection for the hard to reach areas. A sealant smooths out the grooves and fissures, sealing out bacteria, and making it easier to remove debris.
The tooth must be cleaned and dried before we can begin the procedure. Then, we apply a solution to the surface to ensure the sealant will properly adhere to the tooth. Next, the sealant is applied in a liquid form, which hardens in a few seconds using a curing light. After the sealant is hard, the procedure is complete.
When are Dental Sealants Placed?
We typically wait until all of your child’s permanent teeth have erupted before we place a dental sealant. Except wisdom teeth, the molars and premolars continue to erupt until about thirteen years of age. The first sealant should be placed once the chewing surface of the tooth has completely erupted beyond the gum tissue. The sooner your child receives a dental sealant, the sooner their teeth are protected from harmful bacteria. Teenagers and young adults who are prone to tooth decay may also need sealants. While we do not typically apply sealants to baby teeth, it may be a good idea if your child’s baby teeth have deep grooves. The baby teeth hold the place for their permanent teeth. If a baby tooth is lost prematurely, it may cause alignment issues later down the line.
How Long do Dental Sealants Last?
Dental sealants have been proven to be an effective preventative measure since the 1970s. Several studies have shown that a properly placed sealant can last up to 10 years. However, they should be checked at regular appointments to ensure they have not worn or chipped away. Sealants can easily be repaired by adding additional sealant material.
It is important to remember that sealants are not a substitute for regular oral care. While they offer additional protection, your child should still brush their teeth at least twice a day and floss at least once a day. Routine cleanings at our office are also a necessity.
Schedule an Appointment
If you would like to learn more about dental sealants, call (530) 206-9211, and schedule your child’s appointment today!