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How Long Do Sealants Last and How Do We Care for Them?

April 11, 2022

How Long Do Sealants Last and How Do We Care for Them?

If you’re in search of a solution to keep your child’s teeth healthy and cavity-free, you may want to consider dental sealants. The simple, pain-free procedure is one of the most effective preventive measures to keep tooth decay at bay. The question is, how long do dental sealants last, and how should you care for them?

How Do Cavities Develop?

The chewing surfaces of your little one’s premolars and molars are covered with grooves and crevices called pits and fissures. These depressions can trap food particles and plaque, allowing cavity-causing bacteria to flourish and produce acids that erode the tooth enamel. That increases the risk of tooth decay and cavities.

What Are Dental Sealants?

Dental sealants are super thin, clear resin coatings that we paint onto the chewing surfaces of the premolars and molars, making them more resistant to decay. When in place, the material bonds to every nook and crevice, forming a protective shield that keeps plaque and acid from eroding the tooth enamel. Sealants dramatically reduce the risk of developing tooth decay.

When Should Your Child Have Dental Sealants Applied?

We usually recommend applying dental sealants soon after the permanent molars come in, around age six for the first set of molars and around 12 for the second. Sealing and protecting these teeth right from the start keeps them healthy and sound and reduces the chances of tooth decay and complications down the road.

What Is the Dental Sealants Procedure?

Applying dental sealants is a safe, painless, and quick procedure that requires one short visit to complete. No need for any anesthetic shots or drilling! We’ll start with a thorough tooth cleaning, and then we’ll dry your child’s teeth. We’ll prepare the chewing surfaces of the premolars and molars by applying an etching solution to roughen them, allowing the sealant to bond.

When the teeth are ready, we’ll apply the sealant material, which will flow into the pits and grooves or the prepared teeth. Next, we’ll use a curing light to harden the material. The resulting coating will essentially “seal out” food particles, debris, plaques, and bacteria, protecting those pearly whites.

How Long Do Sealants Last?

Sealants typically last 5 – 10 years after placement. However, it’s essential to have them evaluated during your child’s routine, twice-a-year dental exams to rule out chipping or wear. If the sealant is damaged or worn, the protective shield is no longer there to prevent cavities. The good news is that reapplying sealants is a simple process, as with the initial application.

How Should You Take Care of Dental Sealants?

Sealants don’t need special treatment. Once applied, your child can drink and eat normally. Having sealants placed doesn’t substitute for daily brushing and flossing. Make sure your child maintains good oral hygiene practices and refrains from biting down on hard foods or ice to avoid chipping the sealant material as well as the natural tooth enamel.

Don’t forget to schedule your child’s twice-a-year dental exams and cleanings. A tiny chip or crack in the sealant can prompt decay. If we spot any damage to your child’s sealants, we’ll replace them as necessary to maintain maximum protection.

Dental Sealants Near Me

Visit Jet Set Smiles Pediatric Dentistry in Phoenix, AZ, to learn more about our preventative procedures designed to maintain healthy, cavity-free smiles. Our team is committed to providing exceptional, gentle care in our kid-friendly environment. Call us and schedule your child’s appointment today!