How Sealants Keep Those Pearly Whites Pearly

Published October 9th, 2013   

Dental sealants protect the teeth against future decay by preventing foods and bacteria from digging a home into your child’s precious tooth enamel. These thin plastic coatings can save you and your child a ton of aggravation, both in terms of pain and cost, and they are well worth the painless and cost-effective investment. Here’s what you need to know about dental sealants and how AZ Family Dental can help keep your family’s smiles cavity-free.

The Details

Dental sealants are thin coatings of liquid plastic that bond and harden to the grooves and depressions of teeth. Sealants are placed on the 6-year molars in the back of the mouth once the chewing surface has completely appeared, thus preventing painful and sometimes difficult-to-repair tooth decay. Your child should receive his or her first sealant between the ages of 5 and 7, depending on when the molars first appear. Later molars, called 12-year molars, usually appear between the ages of 11 and 14; those teeth may also require sealants, as may others with particularly deep grooves that could be more likely to develop decay.

Are Sealants Painful?sealants

Having sealants placed on teeth is neither painful nor uncomfortable — in fact, sealants prevent the kind of dental work people prefer to avoid by protecting the teeth from decay. During the procedure, the dentist cleans and dries the teeth. Next, the dentist will apply a solution that will help bond the sealant to the teeth. After drying the solution to the teeth, the dentist will then apply the liquid dental sealant, which dries quickly and painlessly. That’s it — your child will be able to eat and chew with gusto immediately following the procedure, which only takes a few minutes. Adults with deep groves and pits can also have sealants placed on their teeth, assuming the teeth are free of fillings.

Maintaining Sealants

However, just because you have new sealants on your teeth doesn’t mean you get a free pass from proper home care and regular dental visits; the better you care for your sealants, the longer they will last. In fact, some sealants can last up to 10 years before needing replacement. During your regularly scheduled dental appointments, the dentist will check your sealants for chips or worn areas. If necessary, the dentist will reapply the sealants, helping you sustain up to 10 more years of healthier, happier teeth.

Schedule an Appointment at AZ Family Dental

The dentist at our Phoenix area general dentistry practice can answer your questions about sealants during your regularly scheduled appointment. Contact AZ Family Dental, and ask about how sealants can make your child’s visits — and possibly your visits — to the dentist easier by reducing the likelihood of cavities and other painful dental problems today.