Dental sealants are a clear liquid material that is applied to the chewing or biting surfaces of teeth. This material fills in all the little nooks and crannies in those areas of our teeth to help prevent against cavities. The sealant makes the biting surface of the teeth smooth, preventing food from being trapped in the grooves, thus reducing the chance of a cavity.
Application is simple. Once the surface has been carefully cleaned and conditioned, the sealant is applied to the surface and allowed to dry, sometimes using a special curing light. Drying takes just a few moments, and your child will be able to eat right after the appointment.
No, the front and smooth surfaces of teeth can be kept clean of debris with normal saliva flow and brushing and flossing, but teeth with grooves or ridges can still be subject to an increased risk of bacterial buildup and lodged food particles. Sealants are most commonly reserved for teeth with grooves and ridges, such as molars.
When your child practices good oral hygiene and avoids biting hard foods or substances like hard candy or ice, sealants can last for years, providing protection for your child's teeth during the years when they're most prone to cavities. The integrity of the sealants will be checked at each office visit so they can be reapplied as needed.
Just because baby teeth are not “permanent” teeth, that doesn't mean they don't need regular care and protection. Children can still feel pain and discomfort when a baby tooth becomes infected or decayed, and decay and infection can also affect the adult teeth that are developing below the gum line. Sealants and other preventive care are critically important in ensuring your child enjoys healthy teeth for a lifetime.
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