When Should My Child Have Sealants Applied?

What are Dental Sealants?

Perhaps the first question should be “What are dental sealants?” The answer to this would be that they are a very thin layer of plastic that is painted onto the chewing surfaces of healthy, cavity-free molars and premolars (back teeth). This is a painless dentistry procedure that can be carried out by your pediatric dentist.

It’s excellent for protecting the chewing surfaces of the back teeth or premolars and molars and can help prevent the need for tooth decay treatment.

The reason these chewing surfaces are so vulnerable to tooth decay is that they contain lots of tiny grooves and fissures that be very difficult to clean properly, and this can lead to particles of food and plaque bacteria becoming trapped. These grooves can be especially intricate on newly erupted teeth that haven’t received any wear and tear.

When Is the Best Time to Have Sealants Applied?

The best time for your child to have sealants applied to their teeth is when they are newly erupted. As soon as your child has their permanent molars and premolars then your pediatric dentist in Brooklyn, NYC will be able to paint on the sealants, protecting these cavity prone teeth.

It is important to get the sealants applied sooner rather than later, as children are more prone towards developing tooth decay than adults as their tooth enamel will not be as hard at first, and will not offer as much protection against bacteria.

Sometimes your pediatric dentist may recommend applying sealants to a child’s milk or baby teeth, especially if these teeth have particularly deep grooves that will easily trap food and bacteria. This might seem extreme for teeth that will soon fall out naturally, but it is important to ensure the baby teeth stay healthy so they do not require extraction. They are important in helping to maintain the correct amount of space for the adult teeth to erupt normally.

The application process for dental sealants is very straightforward, as the teeth will be cleaned and dried before being painted with a slightly acidic solution that roughens the tooth surface, providing a better bond with the sealant. The acid is washed off before the tooth is dried, and sealant is painted onto the chewing surfaces. This can be hardened using a special light, completing treatment.

Dental sealants should last for quite a few years, typically up to ten years, but can be renewed periodically by your pediatric dentist or by your family dentist. Their condition will be assessed at every check-up.

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