Sealants for children?

What are sealants, how and where would a dentist use them on children's teeth? Are they necessary?

Question:

Sealants are a plastic material used to prevent cavities from forming. The sealant is usually painted on the chewing surface of permanent molars by a dentist. Sealants are generally used with children, but they can be helpful for adults as well.

When the molars are forming, they can have deep pits and fissures in the chewing surface which are susceptible to decay. Part of this susceptibility is due to the inability of the toothbrush to reach down into the pits and fissures of the tooth. Placing sealants on these teeth can help prevent cavities.

The procedure is very easy for both the dentist and the patient. It basically consists of cleaning the teeth and placing the sealant material. A curing light, generally of the blue spectrum, is then allowed to shine on the sealant material. This light starts the chemical process that hardens the sealant material. It is important to keep the tooth dry during the curing process so the sealant will stick to the tooth. No anesthetic is required. Sealants are a safe, effective and economical way to prevent cavities.

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