Dental Sealants

What is Dental Sealant?

A dental sealant is a protective clear plastic layer that is brushed onto the chewing surfaces of teeth to 'seal them off' from the plaque and bacteria that cause cavities to form.

Typically, sealants are applied to the molars, because it is these teeth that do the most chewing and have deep crevices in which bacteria can hide. The sealant will fill in and cover any crevices on the tooth to act as a shield from the bacteria. What makes them even better is that the sealant application process is quick and painless!

Fissure Sealants have become widely regarded as the technique that has contributed most significantly to lowering the caries rate in children.

Why are Dental Sealants So Effective?

Dental decay is most likely to develop on your child's molars when they first erupt at the age of 6. At this age, the top (or chewing surface) of these teeth is not fully mineralized, and therefore more susceptible to decay. At the same time, the anatomy of the chewing surface contains numerous grooves and deep pits, known as fissures. These fissures are usually so narrow that toothbrush bristles are unable to clean them properly. This allows bacteria to flourish and decay to form. By applying a fissure sealant, we make the surface of the tooth smooth – which leaves decay with nowhere to develop.

Sealants have been shown to reduce the risk of decay by nearly 80% in molars. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDS) "school-age children without sealants have almost three times more cavities than children with sealants."

When You Should Bring Your Child to Get Sealants

The best time to bring your child in for dental sealants is around the time their adult molars begin to erupt (usually age 6).

We are often asked by parents to provide a timeline of tooth development, to ensure no new adult teeth are missed:

  • 6-7 years of age - all four adult molars should be sealed
  • 10-12 years - first and second adult premolars usually erupt (these adult teeth replace your child’s baby molars)
  • 12-13 years - second adult molars erupt

The sooner the sealants are in place, the less opportunity the oral bacteria will have to build up.

Baby teeth can benefit from sealants too. Dental sealants are most effective together with regular oral hygiene i.e brushing, flossing and of course a proper diet. However, sealants are still beneficial, even when applied later on.

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How Dental Sealants are Applied at Appolonia

The sealant application process at Appolonia is quick and painless:

  • The sealant is painted onto the tooth, filling depressions and grooves.
  • Hardening takes place in a matter of seconds with the assistance of dental curing light.
  • Most applications will last between three and five years with normal chewing and biting. But sealants should be checked at least once a year and re applied if needed to assure complete prevention.

The dental sealant procedure is technique sensitive. For this reason, it is highly advisable to visit a dentist who is specialized in children’s dental care and is therefore well-equipped to administer the procedure.