Some patients have teeth with especially deep pits and grooves. Teeth with these characteristics are much more likely to trap harmful bacteria that can lead to decay. Dental sealants are a quick and painless treatment that protects the shape and structure of the teeth for those who are especially prone to cavities, such as teens or young children.
Only in certain circumstances will dental sealants be recommended for children who still have baby teeth. However, even adults who want to give their teeth an extra layer of protection can benefit from dental sealants.
What are Dental Sealants?
Dental sealants are a resin-based treatment that fill in the imperfections of the molars to prevent bacteria from getting trapped in them and decaying the tooth. Dentists may recommend sealants for patients who have weak teeth or especially deep pits or grooves to prevent cavities.
A thin clear or white resin is applied to the chewing surfaces of the teeth. The treatment itself is quick, painless, and takes less than 60 seconds per tooth. Dental sealants are safe and effective, reducing tooth decay by roughly 80%, making them a simple and ideal preventive treatment for children.
When Does a Child Need Dental Sealants?
Pits and fissures in the teeth account for 88% of childhood cavities. Sealants act as a barrier between harmful bacteria and the teeth. The American Dental Association recommends that children get assessed for sealants when their permanent molars first emerge (age 6) and again around age 12. If a child is especially prone to cavities due to the natural shape of their molars, then their dentist may recommend sealants.
While sealants are great for children and teens, they may actually be placed on patients of all ages as a preventive measure. Preventing cavities in the permanent molars is essential for overall health and financial purposes as it can cut the cost of future dental visits. If you are an adult who is especially prone to cavities, dental sealants can help prevent the physical and financial discomfort of tooth decay.
How are Dental Sealants Applied?
Dental sealants are easy to apply and take less than one minute per tooth, so even the antsiest of children won’t have any trouble sitting for this treatment! Applied by one of our pediatric dentists or dental hygienists, the application is fast and painless.