Children’s teeth can be protected with the help of sealants which are painless. Sealants are applied to the biting surface of back teeth and are a protective plastic coating. It forms a hard shield which helps in keeping food and bacteria from getting into the tiny grooves in the teeth which eventually causes decay.
Which teeth should be sealed?
They are only applied to the back teeth- the molars and premolars which are the teeth which have fissures and pits on their biting surfaces. Your teeth are examined by the dentist and after the examination, if the fissures are deep enough for sealing to help by your dentist, he will tell you which teeth have to be sealed. Shallow grooves do not need sealing while some teeth with deep grooves can be sealed.
What is involved?
The process involved is generally quick and straightforward and takes a few minutes per tooth. The tooth is first properly cleaned, prepared with a special solution, and is then dried. The liquid sealant is then applied and allowed to set hard- usually by shining ultraviolet light onto it.
Will my child feel it?
No. The process is completely pain-free.
How long do they last?
Generally, they last for many years, you should get it checked regularly to make sure that the seal is still intact. The dentist will change or add sealants if needed to prevent decay.
How do they work?
Sealants cover the little grooves and dips in the surface of the tooth and they form a smooth and protective barrier.
When should this be done?
When the permanent teeth start to come through, sealants need to be applied which is generally when 6 to 7 years old. Between 11 and 14 years of age, the others can be sealed as soon as they start to appear.
How much does it cost?
Most dentists offer fissure sealing. In many cases, it is available only privately. Different dentists charge differently for this process. Ask for a written estimate of the cost before you start any treatment.
Do children still have to clean their teeth after this process?
Yes. Cleaning is required. The smooth, sealed surface is now much easier to keep clean and healthy with normal tooth brushing. Children’s teeth can also be protected by fluoride toothpaste. Tooth decay and fillings required in future are reduced with the help of pit and fissure sealing.
Whom do I ask about the treatment?
You can ask your dentist or hygienist for more information regarding the treatment and they will give the necessary guidance.