The chewing surfaces of molars have many grooves and pits, making them difficult to keep clean and prone to cavities. Dental sealants are a plastic resin applied to the groovy surfaces that act as a barrier and protect them against decay-causing bacteria and food particles. We recommend dental sealants for all six and twelve year molars, and most insurance companies cover them as part of your child’s preventative care services. When you bring your child in for their cleaning and check-up appointments, our staff will check to see if their molars are present, and if they are, they will discuss applying sealants with you.
The application process is simple and usually takes five or ten minutes. The teeth that will be sealed are thoroughly cleaned and dried, and then the chewing surfaces are roughened with an etching solution that helps the sealants adhere to the teeth. Next the sealant is "painted" onto the tooth and special curing light bonds and hardens it. Sealants can last for several years, and will be checked and touched up as necessary at your child’s future appointments at no charge. Certain deficiencies in enamel or inability to obtain a completely dry surface can cause sealants to be weaker and not as successful. Our office always guarantees the money that a parent spends out of their pocket will be reimbursed if the sealant fails.
Getting sealants is not painful and most children have no problem with the process. They just have to stay still and have their mouth propped open with a "tooth pillow" while the sealants are being applied. In children who have high dental anxiety or a strong gag reflex, nitrous oxide (laughing gas) can be administered during the sealant process to help them relax. Occasionally, a gag reflex is too strong and sealants are not an option.