The Facts about Sealants

01/05/2012
by: Roy Smith, D.D.S.

What does it mean if your dentist or hygienist tells you your child needs sealants? First of all, it’s an easy procedure with little to no discomfort – no numbing and if any drilling is done, it is minimal. And secondly, it’s one of the best proactive steps you can take to protect your child’s teeth against decay.

What we do is apply a thin coating of plastic or  composite in the grooves on the permanent back teeth. These “chewing surfaces” are the most likely places for children, and even teenagers, to develop tooth decay. The sealant or preventive restorative resin coats the tooth and helps keep food particles and germs from getting into the grooves. Think of it as locking down teeth with protective armor against the bacteria that would like to break in and do some serious damage. Most sealants are clear, so you can’t even tell they are there, while PRRs are tooth colored. Most children can barely feel the difference on their teeth.

While normally sealants or PRRs are provided for children as soon as their permanent teeth come in, some adults may need sealants if they never received them as children or are at greater risk for dental caries.

Sealants and PRRs can last for many years. Occasionally, your dentist may touch up the sealant on one or two teeth.  But just because your child has sealants doesn’t mean you can slow down with brushing, flossing and fluoride rinsing. Sealants are just one part of a  comprehensive, smart dental prevention plan for growing children.



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