Did you know that the natural grooves in permanent molars are a very common place to find that a child has developed a first cavity? These grooves are so narrow that even with very good tooth brushing skills bacteria, food and stain can get inside and cause decay. What if you could prevent cavities from forming in the deep grooves of your child’s newly erupted adult molars? Preventive dental sealants may be the answer!
What are they? Sealants do exactly that – they seal the small grooves of the teeth so that cavity causing bacteria cannot get in. Sealants are placed before your child can develop a cavity at around 6 years of age as the new adult molars come in. The procedure is non-invasive and does not involve drilling the teeth.
How do we place them? Your dentist or dental hygienist will begin by thoroughly cleaning the grooves with gritty toothpaste. The tooth is then rinsed well and the area is kept dry with cotton rolls. The next step is to place “etch” which readies the tooth surface to be bonded to the sealant material. Once the etch is rinsed away, the tooth is dried again, the sealant flows into the grooves and is light cured. We then check the surface to make sure there are no gaps and that the surfaces of the tooth have no grooves left to trap food. The procedure will not take more than 30 minutes for four molars, and best of all, no freezing is required!
Should my child have sealants? Your dental professional will monitor your child’s growth and development at regular hygiene recall visits. They will be able to identify teeth that would benefit from sealants and let you know at which stage they are ready to be placed. If you have any questions, or are wondering if maybe your child would benefit from preventive sealants, reach out to us at (705) 792-0079. We would love to let you know about the benefits and if this is the right preventive solution for you and for your child!