Dental sealants are invisible, plastic resin coatings that cover the chewing surfaces of a child’s permanent back teeth. This is the most likely place for a child to develop cavities. The surfaces of back teeth are not smooth like other parts of the teeth. They are covered with “pits and fissures” that trap food particles and bacteria. While brushing helps to remove most of it, the grooves are often too small for the brush bristles to completely remove everything from these dark and moist crevices. And because a child’s tooth enamel isn’t as hard as an adult’s, it is not able to protect the tooth as well. This creates a perfect environment for decay. When applied, the sealants smooth out the surfaces of the teeth, preventing food and bacteria from being trapped. They make it easier to keep the surface clean by brushing and reduce the likelihood of surface decay by more than 70%!
But don’t be confused. Sealed teeth need the same level of care as unsealed teeth! That means regular flossing and brushing, and regular trips to the dentist for cleanings and checkups. Sealants will get a little wear and tear over time, but should last for up to 10 years!