Purpose of a Dental Sealant

You may have heard the old adage, “Prevention is the best protection.” This is true whether you’re applying sunscreen to prevent a sunburn or you’re brushing your teeth to prevent a cavity. Unfortunately, brushing and flossing likely aren’t on your children’s minds; in fact, they usually would rather be doing anything else. When they actually do brush, they may neglect hard-to-reach areas, so the very cavity you were hoping to prevent ends up forming anyway. The purpose of a dental sealant is to provide extra protection against such cavities.

A dental sealant is a clear coating that is placed on the chewing surface of a permanent back tooth. In pediatric dentistry, dental sealants are recommended because a child’s back teeth contain grooves in which sugary foods can easily become stuck, thus leading to cavities. The grooves are hard to clean because even a thin toothbrush bristle can be difficult to fit into them. This is why research shows that people have a 95 percent chance of developing cavities in these parts of the teeth.

Your kid’s dentist usually will place your child’s first dental sealant on his or her first permanent molar. However, your pediatric dentistry office may also recommend placing sealants on your child’s primary, or baby, teeth if these teeth have grooves that could benefit from the clear coatings. Keeping baby teeth healthy is critical because they maintain the proper spacing needed for future permanent teeth.

Sealants may also be recommended for adults who are susceptible to cavities or whose teeth feature deep grooves that have not yet received fillings. Sealants, which are white or clear in color, take just a short time to place. However, they can last for several years. These coatings can withstand the forces of normal chewing and are virtually unnoticeable.

Protect your child’s teeth – and your own, too – against tooth decay. Contact our team at Fort Worth Children’s Dentistry today to learn more about how dental sealants can keep your and your children’s teeth stronger and healthier in the long run.