All parents want their children to be a member of the “cavity-free club.”

However, the reality is:

60% of children have a cavity by the age of five, according to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry… This text opens a new tab to the AAPD website….

Most of us know that good oral hygiene consists of brushing twice a day, using toothpaste with fluoride, and flossing. This should prevent our kids from getting cavities, right?

Unfortunately, even with good oral hygiene, tooth decay can still occur on the back teeth’ chewing surfaces because their grooves are so deep, and the toothbrush bristles are not able to reach into the deep pits and grooves.

80-90% of cavities occur in the grooves of the permanent back teeth.

This all may sound discouraging, but there is a solution to this problem: dental sealants!

What are dental sealants?

Sealants are like an umbrella for your tooth.

They are a thin protective coating that sticks to the chewing surfaces of your back teeth. They even out the grooves to prevent food from getting stuck in your back teeth and eventually causing cavities.

Sealants are smooth, white or clear in color, and you can’t feel them on your teeth.

They reduce the risk of cavities by 80%.

How are sealants placed?

These are the steps that our dentist may use to apply sealants onto your teeth:

  1. The tooth is cleaned, and the chewing surface is prepared to help the sealant material stick to the tooth.
  2. The sealant material is painted onto the chewing surface, where it bonds to the tooth.
  3. The sealant material is hardened using a special light.

Sealants are very easy, painless, and only take a few minutes to apply.

Who can get a sealant?

Children and adults both benefit from sealants, but the earlier you have them applied, the better.

Your first molars come in around the age of six. Sealing these teeth as soon as they come in will give you the best chance of staying cavity-free.

Once a tooth has a cavity or even the start of one, a sealant can no longer be placed.

How long do dental sealants last?

Sealants usually last several years before they need to be replaced or touched up by your dentist.

Over time, a sealant can wear down or come off, meaning that the sealant will no longer protect the tooth.

Here are some simple rules to keeping your teeth happy and healthy with a sealant:

  1. Avoid chewing on ice or hard foods that can cause portions of the sealant to chip away.
  2. Stick to your daily oral hygiene routine. Sealants are not a substitute for cleaning your teeth every day.
  3. Sealants DO NOT protect between the teeth. Therefore, flossing is still essential in preventing cavities.
  4. Visit the dentist every six months for your regular cleaning and check-up.

Dr. B with a toy toothbrush in her office offering dental sealants.

Have more questions?

Sealants are a simple, easy, and affordable way to prevent yourself or your child from getting cavities, and prevention is so much better than treatment!

If you would like to know more about sealants or see if they are a good option for your child, please feel free to reach out to me or ask us at your child’s next appointment.

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Green Hills Pediatric Dentistry is located in Nashville, TN. It serves surrounding communities, including 12 South, 8th Ave S, Belle Meade, Belmont, Berry Hill, Demonbreun Hill, Downtown, East Nashville, Edgehill, Elliston Place, Germantown, Green Hills, Gulch, Hillsboro Village, Marathon Village, Melrose, Midtown, SOBRO, Sylvan Park, The Nations, and West End.