When I am practicing dentistry, especially on adults, most of the time I am working on a tooth (or teeth) that first had a problem during the patient’s childhood. Frequently that tiny cavity that little Jimmy gets fixed at a young age will develop further problems and require more extensive treatment years later. This is why it is so very important to avoid getting cavities at a young age. Dental sealants are one of the ways we can protect young teeth.From the moment of eruption into the oral environment, teeth are literally fighting for their own survival. One of the most notorious areas of the tooth in which cavities frequently form is down in the pits and grooves of the chewing surface of back teeth (molars and premolars). These small spaces are tough to clean and contain thinner enamel than the peaks of the chewing surface. Dental sealants flow into and fill these pits and grooves, effectively preventing cavities from forming.
Dental sealants are usually appropriate to place on children between the ages of 6 and 16. The material used is very similar to white dental filling material (composite), and there is no need to be numbed (no shots!) during the placement of dental sealants. A sealant can in general be applied to a tooth in about one minute. The tooth is etched with a dental etchant then dried, then the liquid sealant is applied, and finally a curing light hardens the sealant in the appropriate position.
You likely will not even notice the sealant is on the tooth, because it is generally down in the grooves. Another positive attribute of sealants is that they generally last for a number of years. For children who have had a cavity in the past, dental sealants are an extremely useful preventative dental treatment.
Robert M. Davis, DDS, FIOCOI
Your Raytown, MO Dentist
Your Pleasant Hill, MO Dentist