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          What Parents Need to Know About Dental Sealants

          Sealants are a thin, protective coating that we apply to the grooves and pits of children’s teeth to protect them from cavities. They are not a substitute for brushing and flossing, but they are very effective in preventing food debris and harmful bacteria from building up in the crevices of children’s back teeth.

          We asked Dr. Enas Al Khadra, our Specialist Pediatric Dentist, to answer the common questions parents ask about dental sealants.

          “School-age children without sealants have almost three times more cavities than children with sealants.”

          Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
          1. When should a child get sealants?

            As soon as the first permanent molars come (6-year molars), they should be sealed. These molars grow all the way at the back and are difficult to brush. The second application is due when the child’s next set of molars erupt (12-year-molars). Each child is different, and these two sets of molars usually arrive by the age of 6 and 12, give or take one year.

          2. Is it common to seal other teeth?

            Some teeth, just like the premolars, are naturally easier to clean than others. But in some cases, we recommend that we seal premolars and baby teeth if they have deep pits and grooves. These crevices provide a perfect opportunity for cavities to develop.

          3. How long does sealants last and do we need to redo it?

            The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that we revisit or repair sealants (when necessary) every two years. However, it’s not the same for every child and the longevity of their sealants depend on their diet and the nature of their tooth. There are children who can keep their sealants for many years, while there are those who chip theirs every six months. Sealants are one of the things we check during your child’s routine check-ups.

          4. How many appointments does it take to get sealants done?

            The application of sealant is quick and painless and is usually done in just one appointment. However, I prefer to apply SDF (Silver Diamine Fluoride) prior to sealing the molars. SDF will kill any microscopic bacteria in these grooves that are invisible to the eye. After application of SDF, I usually see the child after three days, then I clean the tooth and seal it.

          5. Are there any special instruction after the sealants are applied?

            No, there are no special post-treatment instructions. Sealing the chewing surfaces of the teeth is simple, effective, and straightforward. It is one of the most cost-effective ways of preventing cavities in children. Some children may feel a bit weird in the beginning, but they get used to it soon enough.