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At Irvine Dentistry, we specialize in several preventive services, including dental sealants. We may recommend sealants if you want the best possible protection for your child's molars and premolars. During their initial appointment, we will determine if your child is a suitable candidate for this safe and effective treatment.
What Are Dental Sealants?
A dental sealant is a very thin, plastic covering that we paint over the occlusal surface of a posterior (back) tooth. Most of the time, we place sealants over your child's permanent molars and premolars. In rare instances, we may also recommend them to protect primary, or baby teeth, especially if your child is prone to tooth decay.
The molars and premolars contain deep grooves or fissures on the occlusal surfaces. These areas are often hard to clean for children. Some of these grooves are so thin that even the bristles of a toothbrush are rendered ineffective. This will ultimately lead to the buildup of plaque, food debris, and harmful bacteria.
When plaque and bacteria are allowed to accumulate tooth decay will occur. Bacteria produce acids that eat away at the enamel and cause cavities. Along with our other preventive services, sealants help to protect these areas and create a more even occlusal plane.
When Do We Recommend Sealants?
We typically place a sealant after the first permanent molar has erupted above the gum tissue. As the other molars and premolars erupt, we may recommend additional sealants. The eruption of these permanent teeth usually takes place between the ages of six and 14.
Dr. Christianne Lee will determine if your child needs sealants during one of their routine appointments. The sealant procedure is relatively quick and minimally invasive. The entire process only takes a matter of minutes.
We begin the procedure with a thorough cleaning of the occlusal surfaces. Once the teeth are clean, we then dry the surfaces and keep them dry by isolating the area. Next, we place an acid solution of the tooth to create a fine, abrasive area that helps the sealants better adhere to the tooth.
After the tooth is properly prepared, we will apply the sealant. The sealant is painted on in a liquid form that hardens within a few minutes. In some cases, we use an ultraviolet curing light to expedite the process and improve the bond. Once the sealant is hard, it transforms into a varnish coating strong enough to support your child's bite forces.
After Your Child Receives a Sealant
After your child receives their sealants, they can return to their everyday life with no pain, discomfort, or other inconveniences. Several studies have shown that sealants remain effective for up to ten years. During their following appointments, Dr. Lee will check the sealants for chips of regular wear-and-tear.
In some cases, a sealant may become completely dislodged. If necessary, we can replace the sealant to ensure your child remains protected from tooth decay for many years. However, it is important to note that a sealant is not a replacement for proper oral hygiene. Make sure your child's oral health routine still includes regular brushing and flossing.
Schedule a Consultation
If you would like to learn more about our preventive services, our team is here to help. Call Dr. Lee to schedule your child's consultation today.