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Your dentist or dental hygienist may recommend sealants for your child’s teeth. Sealants are thin plastic coatings, easily applied in the dental office, on the chewing surfaces of back teeth – a prime spot for cavities. Sealants act as a barrier to prevent bacteria and food from collecting and sitting on the grooves and pits of teeth.
- Sealants are best suited for permanent first molars that come in around age 6 and permanent second molars that come in around age 12. It is important to have the sealant applied as soon as the tooth has fully come in to the mouth.
- Before the sealant is applied, the tooth is prepared by using a solution that cleans the tooth surface and helps the sealant stick to the tooth.
- Sealants may last for several years, but should always be examined at the child’s regular checkup. Even if the sealant is lost, the material that has penetrated the enamel will still provide some protection. Sealants are easily replaced if lost.
- Sealants are effective in preventing decay in the chewing surfaces of the back teeth. Fluoride helps fight decay on the smooth surfaces of the teeth.