How Can Dental Sealants Help My Child Avoid Cavities?

Dental sealants are a protective coating for teeth that have been proven to reduce the chance of a cavity by up to 80%. Sealants are made of a thin resin material (similar to the material used for a tooth colored filling). They are applied to the chewing surfaces of molar and premolar teeth; the most common place for a child to get their first cavity. They act as a physical barrier, keeping food and bacteria from getting into the deep grooves on the tooth where toothbrush bristles don’t fit.

Most children can benefit from sealants when their first permanent molars erupt, around age 6. Often dental insurance that covers preventive care (such as dental cleanings and fluoride treatments) may also cover the cost of dental sealants.

In order to place a sealant, the dentist or dental hygienist will clean the teeth to be sealed. A conditioning gel will be placed on the chewing surface for a few seconds, after which the tooth is rinsed and dried. Next, the sealant is painted on the tooth and dried with a special curing light. The procedure is painless and there is no need for numbing. Your child will be able to eat and drink immediately after the procedure. We recommend avoiding very hard, crunchy or sticky foods for the first 24 hours to allow the sealant material to wear in evenly.

With sealants in place it is still important to continue brushing and flossing regularly and to avoid sticky foods in order to have the best continued protection from cavities.

We encourage you to call the office with any questions you may have regarding sealants; they are a great way to protect your child’s healthy smile!