Dental sealants prevent cavities
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) states that 90% of all the cavities in school-age children occur in the deep pits and fissures of teeth. Thus, sealants are so important and can be such a valuable tool in preventing the most common types of cavities. A sealant’s ability to help prevent cavities and additional extensive dental treatment in the future makes it a very cost-effective form of preventive dental treatment. Studies have shown that with appropriate follow-up care and maintenance, sealants can be 80-90% effective in reducing cavity formation. The majority of sealants are placed on permanent molars, however the AAPD states that “any tooth, including primary teeth and permanent teeth other than molars, may benefit from sealant application due to fissure anatomy and [cavity forming] risk factors.”
Sealants are a safe and easy to place
Sealants are a safe and effective way of preventing the most common type of cavities in children and help prevent the need for more extensive dental treatment in the future. The sealant placement process is rather easy for the patient. There is no need for a local anesthetic or injection because no tooth structure is removed. The dentist will first clean the biting surface of the tooth with a cleaning agent known as “etchant.” After being properly etched, a bonding agent is administered and the sealant is flowed into the deep grooves of the teeth and then set with a high-intensity blue light. The key to successful sealant placement is keeping the tooth dry and preventing saliva from contaminating the biting surface while the sealant is being placed. Sometimes, very young children may not be candidates for sealants if the teeth cannot be properly isolated and kept dry. Proper follow-up care is important in ensuring the longevity and success of sealants as well as limiting habits that may damage sealants such as chronic ice cube chewing.