Molar Sealants for Eight-year-old?

Our dentist has recommended my daughter's molars be sealed. Supposedly, this will keep her from getting cavities. Will it last forever? Do you recommend this procedure for your patients?

Question:

Sealants have been around for a number of years, but it is only in recent years that the materials have improved enough to make sealants a good, cost-effective, preventative treatment. I recommend sealants for my patients on a case-by-case basis. If a child has deep pits and grooves in his or her teeth, especially permanent ones, I will generally recommend sealants. It is best to seal the teeth within three to four years after eruption as they are not completely mineralized yet and are most susceptible to decay at this stage.

Sealants are composed of a resin material which has some similarity to composite resin (tooth-colored filling material). Sealants are like a plastic coating which covers the pits and grooves in the tooth to help prevent cavities from forming. Sealants are not a fluoride treatment. Children are free to eat and drink directly after sealants are placed.

In my practice, I have had most sealants remain intact for an average of five to six years. Some have lasted longer, while others have been completely missing much sooner. The shorter-lasting ones were most likely due to contamination with saliva before the sealant could be completely light-cured. If the sealant has remained intact for several years, the patient, parents, and I will discuss re-treatment. Again, this is done on a case-by-case basis.

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