What are sealants?
Think of the chewing surface of your child's molars as the nooks and crannies of an English muffin. This is at the microscopic level, but it's a good analogy. Sealants protect the grooved and pitted surfaces on the chewing surfaces of back teeth. They are made of a tooth colored resin and are placed on a decay-free tooth to prevent a cavity from forming. Research shows that sealants can help reduce your child's risk for a cavity by 97%.
How do they work?
The grooves in permanent molars are narrow and deep. This is ideal for cavity-causing bacteria to accumulate and cause disease. Sealants flow into these grooves sealing them off, which helps decrease the risk of decay in the chewing surfaces of the back teeth.
How long do sealants last?
Research shows that sealants can last for many years if properly cared for. If your child has good oral hygiene and avoids biting hard objects (ice, pens, toys, etc.) sealants will last longer. Your child's sealants will be checked every visit to make sure they are in good condition. Dr. Morgan will discuss touching up and/or replacing them as needed.
What is treatment like?
The application of a sealant is quick and comfortable. It takes only one visit. First, the tooth is cleaned and dried. The tooth is kept dry and free from moisture contamination the entire time. The sealant flows into the grooves of the tooth and is hardened with a blue light. Your child will be able to eat immediately after the appointment.
If my child has sealants, can he still get a cavity?
It is very important that your child maintain very good hygiene by daily brushing and flossing. It is possible to still get a cavity between the teeth from not flossing where a sealant doesn't cover. The same plaque that causes cavities can eat through a sealant if left there for long periods of time. That's why good brushing and regular dental visits are so important to be sure the sealants do their job.