What Are Dental Sealants and How Do They Work?

What Are Dental Sealants and How Do They Work?

At Pediatric Dentistry of San Marcos, we believe in prevention as the first line of defense against tooth decay. We are pleased to offer a range of preventive services, including dental sealants, to keep your child’s teeth strong and cavity-free. We’re all about maintaining healthy, happy smiles for life!

Dental Sealants – An Overview

Your child’s back teeth, or molars, have grooves and pits on their chewing surfaces that trap food particles, plaque, and debris, providing harmful bacteria an ideal environment to flourish. Even the most meticulous brush and flossing cannot reach every nook and cranny, leaving your child’s smile at risk. Research shows that almost 70 percent of children develop cavities on their permanent molars before adulthood.

Dental sealants have been used for nearly 50 years and the body of evidence supporting sealants is very strong. Our dental sealants are a thin, BPA-free coating that we place in the fissures of the chewing surfaces of a child’s molars, essentially sealing out bacteria, plaque, and food particles. The application is simple, quick, and painless. Dental sealants lower the risk of tooth decay and cavities by almost 80 percent.

When Should Your Child Have Dental Sealants Placed?

Dental sealants are typically recommended for children and teens as soon as their permanent molars come in, usually around age six for the first set and age 12 for the second. In some occasions we will recommend sealants in baby molars if we see signs that indicate your child is cavity prone. Placing sealants as soon as the permanent molars emerge provides protection right from the start, keeping your child’s teeth healthy and free of decay.

Placing dental sealants on your child’s teeth is no substitute for maintaining proper oral hygiene practices. Encourage your child to brush and floss regularly and limit sugary and acidic food and drinks. It’s also important to keep up with your child’s twice-yearly dental exams and cleanings.

What Is the Dental Sealants Procedure?

We will start by carefully cleaning, rinsing, and drying your little one’s teeth, then place a special cleaning solution on the tooth surfaces to help the sealant material stick to the tooth. Next, we will place the liquid sealant material onto the grooves of your child’s teeth and use a special light to harden it. We also have sealants that can be placed with one step for younger children who may have a strong gag reflex. Once in place, dental sealants act like shields, protecting your child’s teeth and lowering the risk of tooth decay.

How Long Do Dental Sealants Last?

Dental sealants can last for years deep in the grooves of the teeth where is it not visible to the naked eye. The lifespan of your child’s sealant will depend on factors, including oral hygiene, wear and tear, and lifestyle habits. When you bring your child in for regular dental check-ups, we will evaluate the sealants to rule out signs of damage or wear. Sealants are usually retouched every 3 years or so, but depending on your child’s situation we may recommend it sooner or not at all.

Dental Sealants Near Me in San Marcos, CA

Visit Pediatric Dentistry of San Marcos to learn more about protecting your child’s smile with dental sealants. Our team is committed to providing quality preventive services for long-term healthy smiles. We look forward to caring for your child’s dental needs. Call 760-978-8285 to schedule your child’s appointment, or complete our online appointment request form today!