The back molars have top surfaces that are craggy and pitted, allowing us to chew our food more effectively. The pits and fissures, as they are referred to by dentists, are also notorious for collecting food particles and bacteria. Molar surfaces are already challenging to clean because of their location at the back of the mouth, and deep pits and fissures make it that much harder. So, don’t be surprised if at some point before your child reaches adolescence and after their molars erupt, your dentist recommends placing dental sealants on their teeth.
New Teeth Have Rougher Surfaces
Brand new molars tend to have more defined edges and can have deeper pits and fissures than teeth that have had the benefit of some wear and tear. The rough surface makes it even easier to trap food and bacteria, which can lead to decay. Adults may spend extra time and attention to keeping molars clean, however, kids aren’t always the most diligent and have trouble getting large brush heads to the back of their small mouths. Sealants then add an extra layer of protection to these teeth by smoothing the tooth’s surface and keeping bacterial and food out.
Placing dental sealants is a simple process that is done in your dentist’s office, usually right after a cleaning appointment. First, the tooth is prepared by removing any plaque that may already be stuck in the pits. The tooth is then thoroughly dried by blowing air on it, and a special resin material is applied to the tooth. The liquid resin flows into the nooks and crannies of the tooth, creating a small pool of resin. The resin is cured using UV light until it is fully hardened. The whole process only takes a few minutes per tooth.
Additional Layer of Safety for Molars
Sealants fill in the pits to leave a permanent, slightly smoother surface on the tooth. Your child will be able to feel it with their tongue at first, but will quickly adjust. There is no change in the function of sealed teeth. The molars will still do their job of crunching and chewing food. The sealants will stay in place for many years and are not damaged by eating or brushing, but they will eventually wear away. When this occurs, your dentist may recommend replacing them if they feel it is necessary.
Dental sealants are a comfortable and pain-free way to help prevent cavities in molars by filling in the craggy areas that easily trap food and bacteria. These are the areas that are also typically difficult to clean, even with regular brushing, so it’s good to have a little insurance. Find out more about the benefits of dental sealants at your child’s next regular hygiene appointment, or call our family dental clinic anytime!