Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Oct 3, 2022.
What is dental sealant?
Dental sealant is a protective coating applied to the surface of your child's molars (back teeth). Sealant is made from a type of dental material. The molars have pits and grooves that can trap food and bacteria. This can lead to decay and cavities. The sealant protects your child's molars and helps prevent cavities from forming. Placement of a dental sealant is easy and painless.
When is dental sealant applied?
Sealant can be applied during a regular dental office visit. Sealant can also be applied in a community setting, such as a school, with the proper equipment.
- Sealant is applied when your child's first permanent molars come in. These are called 6-year molars. This is usually around ages 5 to 7. Your child will get a second set of molars between ages 11 and 14. These are called 12-year molars. Sealant should be applied to molars as soon as they come in to provide the most protection.
- Sometimes sealant is applied to baby teeth. This is done when the baby teeth have deep pits or grooves. Pits and grooves make baby teeth more likely to decay and get cavities.
How is dental sealant applied?
Your child's dentist or hygienist will:
- Clean and dry each tooth one at a time
- Apply a solution that roughens the surface of the tooth so the sealant will bond tightly
- Rinse and dry the tooth again
- Paint liquid sealant on the tooth
- Use a blue light to harden the sealant
What else do I need to know about dental sealant?
- Your child can eat and drink as usual after the sealant is applied.
- Sealant can be applied to teeth that show early signs of decay. This will help prevent more damage to your child's tooth.
- Sealants can last up to 10 years before they need to be reapplied. Your child's dentist will check the condition of the sealant at each visit. The sealant will be repaired or replaced if it is chipped or worn away.
- Some insurance plans cover dental sealants up to a certain age.
How can I help my child take care of his or her teeth?
- Teach your child to brush and floss his or her teeth. You may need to help your child brush and floss until he or she can do it properly.
- Use a small amount of fluoride toothpaste.
- Brush for 2 minutes, 2 times each day. It may help to play a song that is at least 2 minutes long while your child brushes. You should only need to do this until your child is used to the time.
- Have your child spit the toothpaste out after brushing. He or she does not need to rinse with water. The small amount of toothpaste that stays in your child's mouth can help prevent cavities.
- Your child will also need to floss 1 time each day.
- Bring your child to the dentist 2 times each year. Take your child for his or her first visit when the baby teeth start to come in. A dentist can find and treat problems early. This may help prevent cavities. The dentist can give your child a fluoride treatment to help prevent cavities.
When should I call my child's dentist?
- Your child has mouth, tooth, or jaw pain.
- You have questions or concerns about your child's condition or care.
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