Permanent teeth begin coming in around 6 or 7 years of age and, if properly cared for, may last the rest of your child’s life. That’s 70 to 80 years (maybe more!) of wear and tear for those teeth to make it through. A great way to start protecting your child’s permanent teeth is to have sealants applied as they erupt.
Sealants are resin coatings that are applied to the pits and fissures on the biting surface of your child’s teeth. This coating creates a barrier to keep decay out of these hard to clean areas, thereby helping prevent cavities. By forgoing sealants, all those pits and fissures of your child’s teeth are exposed to wear, decay, and acid erosion which can weaken your child’s teeth and cause cavities.
Our Evanston dentists recommend having sealants applied to children’s permanent molars as each set of molars become fully erupted. This allows minimum time for the fissures and pits to be exposed to decay. If taken care of properly and monitored by a dental professional, these sealants should last between 5 and 10 years.
Drs. James and Robert Stephens clean the tooth or teeth to be sealed. Then they apply an etching agent to “rough up” the tooth. This roughing helps the sealant bond with the tooth – similar to sanding a surface prior to painting. The doctors then apply a BPA-free sealant and use a curing light to harden the material. As the procedure is relatively easy, the doctors will usually do several teeth at the same time, sometimes doing as many as twelve in one appointment!
Links for more information about sealants:
American Dental Association: Dental Sealants