Sealants

Toothbrush unable to clean grooves in teeth.The most likely location for a cavity to develop in your child's mouth is on the chewing surfaces of the back teeth. Run your tongue over this area in your mouth, and you will feel the reason why: These surfaces are not smooth, as other areas of your teeth are. Instead, they are filled with tiny grooves referred to as “pits and fissures,” which trap bacteria and food particles. The bristles on a toothbrush can't always reach all the way into these dark, moist little crevices. This creates the perfect conditions for tooth decay.

What's more, a child's newly erupted permanent teeth are not as resistant to decay as adult teeth are. The hard enamel coating that protects the teeth changes as it ages to become stronger. Fluoride, which is found in toothpaste and some drinking water — and in treatments provided at the dental office — can strengthen enamel, but, again, it's hard to get fluoride into those pits and fissures on a regular basis. Fortunately, there is a good solution to this problem: dental sealants.

Dental sealants are invisible plastic resin coatings that smooth out the chewing surfaces of the back teeth, making them resistant to decay. A sealed tooth is far less likely to develop a cavity, require more expensive dental treatment later on, or, most importantly, cause your child pain.

How Sealants Are Placed

Dental Sealants - Step by Step.

You can think of a sealant as a mini plastic filling, though please reassure your child that it doesn't “count” as having a cavity filled. Because tooth enamel does not contain any nerves, placing a sealant is painless and does not routinely require numbing shots. First, the tooth or teeth to be sealed are examined, and if any minimal decay is found, it will be gently removed. The tooth will then be cleaned and dried. Then a solution that will slightly roughen or “etch” the surface is applied, to make the sealing material adhere better. The tooth is then rinsed and dried again. The sealant is then painted on the tooth in liquid form and hardens in about a minute, sometimes with the help of a special curing light. That's all there is to it!

A note about BPA: A 2012 study that received wide press coverage raised concerns that trace amounts of the chemical bisphenol-A (BPA) found in some (but not all) dental resins might contribute to behavioral problems in children. The study authors noted that while they had found an association, they had not actually proven that BPA in dental sealants causes these problems. In fact, BPA is far more prevalent in food and beverage packaging than in dental restorative materials. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and the American Dental Association have since reaffirmed their support for the use of sealants.

Taking Care of Sealants

Sealed teeth require the same conscientious dental hygiene as unsealed teeth. Your child should continue to brush and floss his or her teeth daily and have regular professional cleanings. Checking for wear and tear on the sealants is important, though they should last for up to 10 years. During this time, your child will benefit from a preventive treatment proven to reduce decay by more than 70 percent.

Related Articles

Sealants - Dear Doctor Magazine

Sealants for Children The tiny grooves in your child's back teeth are ideal places for cavities to form. But you can take a proactive role in preventing this with dental sealants. These are protective plastic resin coatings placed in these tiny pits and fissures of teeth, actually sealing them from attack. It's a wonderful method of decay prevention that every parent should consider... Read Article

Tooth Decay - Dear Doctor Magazine

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Frederick, MD

Hagerstown, MD

 

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Frederick, MD

Monday:

8:30 am-5:00 pm

Tuesday:

8:30 am-5:00 pm

Wednesday:

8:30 am-5:00 pm

Thursday:

8:30 am-5:00 pm

Friday:

Closed

Saturday:

Closed

Sunday:

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Hagerstown, MD

Monday:

8:30 am-5:00 pm

Tuesday:

8:30 am-5:00 pm

Wednesday:

8:30 am-5:00 pm

Thursday:

8:30 am-5:00 pm

Friday:

Closed

Saturday:

Closed

Sunday:

Closed

  • "[Review for Frederick Pediatric Dentistry]
    Kate became nervous for her exam when she sat in the chair. Dr. Amigo changed her schedule and did an exam on my older daughter first. Because Kate saw Anna getting the exam she then agreed to go with the hygienist. The hygienist was so caring and gentle with Kate. I know their schedule got thrown off because of this but that change gave Kate the confidence to do the exam and I appreciate it greatly. Irma, the dental assistant even came out to give the girls prizes when we were about to leave which made their day. Thank you all for being flexible in order to provide a positive experience for my children."
    By Katherine Marshall on 09/23/2020
  • "[Review for Frederick Pediatric Dentistry]
    Felt very safe and comfortable with all the Covid-19 ins we waited in our car till they called us and told us to meet up at the door are temperatures were taken hand sanitizer was given no air tools were used one way in one way out they literally thought of everything they could to protect their staff and the kids. It was a very pleasant experience during very unpleasant times"
    By Shayla Leatherman on 08/19/2020
  • "[Review for Frederick Pediatric Dentistry]
    For being a pediatric practice, they really do make my 5 year old feel comfortable. They took all the proper COVID-19 safety measures, which made me comfortable as well. The staff is professional and friendly, and they truly do make coming to the dentist an enjoyable experience."
    By Aubrey Schemm on 07/22/2020
  • "[Review for Frederick Pediatric Dentistry of Hagerstown]
    great experience every time. My Kids had a great time.My son who was terrified of dentists did absolutely wonderful at this first visit!!! The dental hygienists are very professional and very good at their jobs. One can tell off the bat that they have great experience with kids! would recommend them every time. Keep up the great work!"
    By Anonymous on 09/22/2020
  • "[Review for Frederick Pediatric Dentistry of Hagerstown]
    I have always loved this dentistry! Very glad to still have them for a dentist for my youngest daughter, as her brother would only let Dr Joe look at and do anything to his teeth growing up. Then he's seen my middle child and she still continues to come here! I wish he or his office would see adults cause I'm SURE my son would definitely come back to see Dr Joe, as I would love for him to be my dentist as well. All the employees are so friendly and if need anything they are there to help out anyway they can! They make you as well as your children feel very comfortable."
    By Aaliyah Frisby on 08/26/2020
  • "[Review for Frederick Pediatric Dentistry of Hagerstown]
    definitely from arrival to departure, the attention is super good especially with the protocol for the Covid-19 100% recommended"
    By Karianys Santiago on 06/26/2020
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