A sealant is a plastic type of material which is bonded into the grooves of the chewing surface of a tooth as a means of helping to prevent the formation of tooth decay.
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In many cases, it is nearly impossible for children to clean the tiny grooves in their teeth. When a sealant is applied, the surface of the tooth is somewhat flatter and smoother. There are no longer any places on the chewing part of the tooth that the bristles of a toothbrush can’t reach and clean. Since plaque can be removed more easily and effectively, there is a lower risk of tooth decay.
The longevity of sealants can vary. Success depends on many factors, such as patient cooperation. Sealants which have remained in place for three to five years are considered to be successful. Our office will check your child’s sealants during routine dental visits and will recommend repair or reapplication when necessary.
The most common teeth for a dentist to seal are a child’s “back” teeth (molars and premolars). The recommendation for sealants should be considered on a case by case basis.
Generally, the procedure takes just one visit. The tooth is cleaned, conditioned and dried. The sealant is then placed into the grooves of the tooth and hardened with a special blue light. In some cases, the sealant is buffed down. All normal activities can occur directly after the appointment.
It is just as important for your child to brush and floss their teeth. Sealants are not 100% protective against tooth decay.
This treatment is quite affordable, especially when you consider the value of protection against tooth decay. Most dental insurance companies cover sealants. Check with your insurance company about your child’s coverage.