Your Teeth - Your Smile

SEALANTS

What are sealants?

Sealants protect the grooved and pitted surfaces of the teeth, especially the chewing surfaces of back teeth where most cavities in children are found. Made of clear or white plastic or glass, sealants are applied to the teeth to help keep them cavity-free.

How do sealants work?

Even if your child brushes and flosses carefully, it is difficult –sometimes impossible– to clean the tiny grooves and pits on certain teeth. Food and bacteria buildup in the crevices, placing your child in danger of tooth decay. Sealants “seal out” food and plaque, thus reducing the risk of decay.

How long do sealants last?

Research shows that sealants can last for many years if properly cared for, there by protecting your child through the most cavity-prone years. If your child has good oral hygiene and avoids biting hard or sticky foods, sealants will last longer. Your pediatric dentist will check the sealants during routine dental visits and recommend re-application or repair when necessary.

What is the treatment like?

The application of a sealant is quick and comfortable. It takes only one visit. The tooth is first cleaned then conditioned and dried. The sealant material is flowed into the grooves of the tooth and allowed to harden or hardened with a special light. Your child will be able to eat right after the appointment.

How much does it cost?

The treatment is very affordable, especially in view of the valuable decay protection it offers your child. Most dental insurance companies recognize the value of sealants and cover their placement. Some companies, however, have age and specific tooth limitations. Check with your benefits provider about your child’s coverage and talk to your pediatric dentist about the exact cost of sealants for your child.

Which teeth should be sealed?

The natural flow of saliva usually keeps the smooth surfaces of teeth clean but does not wash out the grooves and fissures found in many back teeth. The SIX and TWELVE year molars have many grooves and fissures so have the highest risk of decay and are, therefore, most in need of sealants. Many times the permanent premolars and primary molars will also benefit from sealant coverage. Any tooth, however, with grooves or pits may benefit from the protection of sealants. Talk to your pediatric dentist and staff as each child’s situation is unique.

If my child has sealants, are brushing and flossing still important?

Absolutely!
Sealants are only one step in the plan to keep your child cavity-free for a lifetime. Brushing, flossing, balanced nutrition, limited snacking and regular dental visits are still essential to a bright, healthy smile.

NOW THAT THE TEETH HAVE BEEN SEALED

Chewing on ice cubes, hard candy or very sticky food should be avoided as much as possible.

Here are some tasty, healthful snack alternatives that, combined with sealants, fluoride and good homecare, can help to reduce your susceptibility to tooth decay.
Reduced fat peanut butter
Air-Popped popcorn
Fresh vegetables
Fresh Fruit
Sugar-free, non-fat fruit yogurt
Dry Unsweetend Cereal
Low-fat cheese

SEALANTS VS. FLUORIDE

Sealants and fluoride are materials designed to preserve and prolong the life of your teeth by preventing dental decay. Sealants are a visible sign that the tooth is being protected. Some sealants now contain and release fluoride to the teeth.

The combination of sealants and fluoride can be important steps in preventing tooth decay.

Here are some other steps you should take to protect your child’s teeth.

• Brush your child’s teeth twice daily.

• After brushing “spit” but do not rinse your child’s mouth out.

• Floss your child’s teeth once a day.

• Provide a balance and healthy diet.

• Take your child to regular check-ups.


Your Teeth - Your Smile


TABLE OF CONTENTS