Proper brushing etiquette, daily flossing, and practicing good oral hygiene habits are all advantageous when combating tooth decay and cavities… but what if it’s not enough? Thankfully, dental sealants are here to save the day! Dental sealants are plastic coatings placed on the chewing surfaces for added protection from decay.

On your child’s permanent molars there are naturally formed grooves along the chewing surface, sometimes referred to as fissures. When chewing, these grooves are exposed to food that break down and can get stuck in between making it difficult to clean out even during brushing or flossing. Once food becomes trapped, plaque begins to build up quickening the decaying process making your teeth more susceptible to tooth decay and cavities. This is where dental sealants can help! By applying sealants to the grooves of the teeth, you’ll have additional protection against tooth decay and cavities because it makes it less likely for food to get trapped and easier to maintain cleanliness when brushing. Placing sealants on teeth is generally a very easy and painless procedure that can benefit your child’s oral health for years to come!

So, how are sealants applied? The first step is to clean the tooth. In order for a sealant to properly bond to the tooth, it needs to be thoroughly cleaned of any debris. Next, the dentist will condition the tooth with an etching gel over the area the sealant will be placed. Once the tooth is cleaned and prepared, the sealant is placed! The dentist then uses a small brush or a mini-syringe to apply the liquid sealant to the grooves of the tooth. When the liquid sealant is placed, it’s set using a curing light. This light will solidifies the sealant. Following the procedure, the dentist will check your child’s bite to assure that the bite has not been compromised. Then, the sealant and the procedure is all done; thus, you’ve gained that added protection against pesky cavities!

You can see the steps of the procedure in the video below:

We recommend that sealants are placed on permanent molars since they have notoriously deep pits and grooves, and we would be happy to explore options for your child. At Triangle Pediatric Dentistry, we will examine the sealants at your child’s six month check-up appointments and will replace or repair them as necessary. Sealants can make such a difference in helping you combat and protect from tooth decay, and it’s an easy, painless process, so during your next dental visit, be sure to ask your dentist about applying dental sealants to your child’s teeth!

Sealants are a thin covering of white tooth colored filling material over the chewing surfaces of the teeth. The chewing surfaces of the back teeth have many deep grooves and pits that can harbor food debris that bacteria use to cause cavities. Unfortunately, many of these grooves and pits are so deep that your tooth brush bristles and floss cannot reach them to keep them clean. Furthermore, these deep pits and grooves do not receive as much benefit from fluoride as do the smooth surfaces of your teeth (the surface against your tongue, the surface against your cheek, and the surfaces the touch up against other teeth).

Since these grooves and pits are almost impossible to keep clean the best way to prevent food debris and bacteria from being retained in them is by eliminating the pits and grooves. This is done by placing a thin covering of white tooth colored filling material over the chewing surface. We strongly recommend sealants on the permanent molars since they notoriously have deep pits and grooves. Many children can also benefit from sealants on their premolars as well. We examine the sealants at 6 month check up appointments and replace and repair them as necessary. These sealants can stay in place for many years and give the back teeth added protection from decay.

The procedure for placing sealants is relatively simple as demonstrated in the above video (at about the 1:17 mark). The teeth receiving the sealants do have to be kept dry and free from moisture (saliva). Dr. Buddy or Dr. Porter along with a dental assistant will isolate the tooth from the cheeks and tongue by using cotton rolls or cotton shields. For many children the isolation from the saliva is the most difficult part because it does require a lot of dental items and fingers in the mouth at one time. For many younger children we will use nitrous oxide (laughing gas) in order to relax the child and to help suppress the gag reflex. Once the tooth is isolated Dr. Buddy or Dr. Porter will place some “tooth conditioners” on the tooth surface for under a minute to “prepare” the tooth for the dental sealant. After the tooth is conditioned the doctor will paint the dental sealant into the grooves of the tooth with a small brush and shine a bright light on the tooth to harden the sealant material. The doctor will check to make sure placing the sealant did not alter the child’s bite and then the sealant is all done.

2824 Rogers Rd, Suite 201
Wake Forest, NC 27587

Phone: 919.435.7660
Fax: 919.453.6370