Sealants are a safe, painless, and low-cost way to help protect your child’s back teeth from decay. Sealants have been used on children’s teeth for more than 20 years. A tin, plastic, tooth-colored or clear coating (sealant) is bonded to the chewing surfaces of the molars and premolars. This forms a hard shield that keeps food and bacteria from getting into the tiny grooves in the teeth and causing decay.
A fluid resin with fluoride release is applied to the posterior teeth covering the fissures that are so prone to cavities especially in children and teens. It’s a short procedure that protects their teeth through a time when most are not particularly motivated to take the best care of their teeth.
The chewing surfaces of the back teeth have tiny grooves that form as each tooth develops. This is where most decay occurs in children. That’s because the bristles of a toothbrush can’t get down into the grooves to remove the food and bacteria that get trapped there.
Usually molars. Fluoride helps protect the smooth surfaces on the front teeth and on the sides of the back teeth. But only sealants can keep food and bacteria from getting into the grooves on the chewing surfaces of the back teeth.
Sealants should be applied as soon as the first permanent molars (6-year molars) erupt (come in). This occurs between 5 and 7 years of age. The second molars (12-year molars) and the premolars should be sealed as soon as they erupt, between 11 and 14 years of age. That’s because the greatest chance of decay occurs during the first year after the teeth erupt; however, it’s never too late to apply sealants, as long as the teeth are free of decay and fillings.
Baby molars often don’t need to be sealed. However, some baby teeth have very deep fissure. We may recommend sealing the baby teeth “space holders” because losing baby molars from decay may cause crowding when permanent teeth come in.
Generally, all the ack teeth can be sealed in one 20-30 minute visit.