Sealants for Kid’s Teeth
Most tooth decay in children and teens occurs on molars. Dental sealants are thin plastic coatings that are applied to the surfaces of molars to protect them from tooth decay. Sealants protect teeth from decay by keeping germs and food particles out of the grooves of the teeth.
Sealants are usually applied to permanent molars. First and second molars usually come into the mouth when a child is about 6 – 12 years old. It is best if the sealant is applied soon after the teeth have erupted and before they have a chance to decay.
Applying sealants is a short, easy, and painless process. After the tooth is cleaned, a special gel is placed on the chewing surface for a few seconds. The tooth is then washed off and dried. Then, the sealant is painted on the tooth. The dentist may shine a light on the tooth to help harden the sealant. It takes about a minute for the sealant to form a protective shield.
Sealants can only be seen up close. They are clear, white, or slightly tinted and usually are not seen when a child talks or smiles. Sealants can provide protection for teeth for as long as 5 to 10 years.