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Maribel Vann, DDS
Dental Sealants Protect Your Child's Teeth
. http://drmaribelvann.com/

Dental Sealants Protect Your Child's Teeth

Dental Sealants Protect
Your Childs Teeth

Sealants are a safe, painless, and low cost way to help protect your childs back teeth from decay. Sealants have been used on childrens teeth for more than 10 years. A thin plastic coating (sealant) is bonded to the chewing surfaces of the molars and premolars. The sealant forms a hard shield that keeps food and bacteria from getting into the tiny grooves in the teeth and causing decay.

Why Should Children
Have Sealants?

The chewing surfaces of the back teeth have tiny grooves that form as each tooth develops. This is where most decay occurs in children. Thats because the bristles of a toothbrush cant get down into the grooves to remove the food and bacteria that get trapped there.

Which Teeth Should Be Sealed?

Usually the molars and premolars are sealed. 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.

When Should Children
Get Sealants?

Sealants should be applied as soon as the first permanent molars (6-year molars) come in, between five and seven years of age. The second molars (12-year molars) and the premolars should be sealed as soon as they come in, between 11 and 14 years of age. Thats because the greatest chance of decay occurs during the first year after the teeth come in. However, its never too late to apply sealants, as long as the teeth are free of decay and fillings.

What About Baby Teeth?

The baby molars often dont need to be sealed. However, your dentist may recommend sealing the baby molars if there is a high risk of decay. Since baby teeth are “space holders,” losing baby molars from decay can cause crowding when the permanent teeth come in.

How Long Does Sealing Take?

Generally, all the back teeth can be sealed in one 30 to 60 minute office visit.

Will Insurance Cover Sealants?

Many dental insurance plans cover all or part of the cost of sealants for children. Check with your insurance company for details.

How Long Do Sealants Last?

Sealants can last for many years. If they chip or come off, they can easily be replaced. Any problems can be detected and corrected at your childs regular dental checkups. As long as the sealants are in place, decay cannot develop in the grooves. You can help the sealants last by encouraging your child not to chew on ice cubes or hard or sticky candy.

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