Dental sealants are a preventative dental treatment designed to block food and bacteria from building up on your teeth. They are clear or tooth-colored and can be applied quickly during the regular checkup appointment. They can last several years but should be checked regularly for chipping or damage.
At Bend Children's Dentistry, our pediatric dentist suggests dental sealants for your child if they are at risk for tooth decay. Children between the ages of 6 and 16 are especially vulnerable. This is because their molars are still developing and don’t have as many ridges on them to help floss and clean properly. A dental sealant acts as a barrier against the bacteria and acids in the mouth to prevent tooth decay. When applied by a pediatric dentist, the sealant bonds directly to the child's chewing surface of the back molar to seal out food and particles that could get caught there. This can help prevent decay and help your child maintain healthy teeth and gums as they grow and develop.
The Procedure for Dental Sealants
Applying dental sealants is a quick and straightforward process. The sealant material is painted onto the tooth enamel, where it bonds directly to the tooth and hardens. We recommend that children receive dental sealants on their permanent molars soon after they erupt from the gums – usually between the ages of 6-12 – as this is when decay is most likely to occur. However, adults can also receive dental sealants on adult teeth if it’s been determined that they are good candidates for the procedure.
Dental sealants are often recommended because they help to protect a child’s smile against cavities. When a tooth is sealed, it creates a barrier between the tooth and its chewing surface. This means that plaque and food cannot become trapped on the tooth’s surface, helping to prevent decay from occurring.
When Are Dental Sealants Used?
Children and teenagers are great candidates for dental sealants, especially if they have deep pits and fissures on their teeth. These may include the permanent molars in the back of the mouth. Since these teeth have grooves that are often narrow, it can be difficult for dental cleaning tools to reach all of the surfaces of these teeth. As a result, plaque and debris can build up, leading to cavities.
Although children benefit most from dental sealants, adults can also receive them if they experience problems with decay or cavities in their back teeth. A dentist or dental hygienist can apply dental sealants quickly and easily during regular checkups and cleaning appointments. Applying dental sealants is typically very safe as long as no underlying health concerns exist.
In addition to protecting against tooth decay, dental sealants also protect against the development of gum disease. For more information about dental sealants and their benefits, contact Bend Children's Dentistry at 2190 NE Professional Court, Suite 200, Bend, OR 97701, or call (541) 907-1611.