Dental sealants, if applied to teeth, are very effective at preventing decay. And at our office, we would much rather prevent a cavity than do a filling. We recommend that all children, at the time of the erupting of their permanent back teeth, be treated with dental sealants.
They are applied with tooth bonding technology and are most effective when used on the chewing surfaces of back teeth. The tooth surface is etched, and a thin coating of resin is applied to the tooth and hardened. Because of the grooves on these surfaces that provide hiding places for decay bacteria, most tooth decay in children occurs on these surfaces.
- Applying sealants does not require drilling or removing tooth structure. It simply requires cleaning the tooth surface and then etching it in order to bond the sealant material.
- They are a thin white material that is only visible up close.
- Sealants are most effective if they are applied soon after the teeth have erupted (between ages 6 and 12).
- They can last as long as 5 to 10 years. But even after most of the sealant has worn away, remnants will remain in the deepest part of the groove to provide an extended period of decay prevention.
- While they aren’t an absolute guarantee, they are very effective at preventing tooth decay.
Information provided by the Center of Disease Control and Prevention