One of the first sets of permanent teeth to erupt into your child’s mouth is their 6-year molars. These molars erupt immediately behind your child’s 2 sets of primary (baby) molars, approximately around 6 years of age. Unlike baby molars, permanent molars typically have deep natural grooves and fissures in the chewing surface and sometimes on the side of the tooth. Areas like these can be difficult to keep clean, because the grooves are even smaller than an actual toothbrush bristle. As a result, they can easily develop areas of decay at a very early stage.
Because it’s difficult for children to effectively clean these molars, protective dental sealants applied by your Canton dentist are effective at warding off early decay during their childhood. Unlike fillings, sealants are similar to temporary plastic coatings that are brushed over the grooves. This creates a shallower surface area that is easy to clean with a toothbrush, repelling decay and bacteria from the tooth enamel. Most sealants are placed once the entire chewing surface of the molar has erupted, and again when the 12-year molars erupt into place.
Dental sealants can last for several years and on into adulthood. However, sticky foods such as taffy can pull them off, so this type of food texture should be avoided if you want the sealants to stay in place. Most dental insurance companies will cover dental sealants as a preventive procedure until your child reaches 14 years of age. Application is simple and comfortable! The tooth is gently conditioned and dried thoroughly, then the tooth colored sealant material is brushed into place. A high frequency light is used to cure and harden the material in just 30 seconds. Dental sealants take only a few minutes to apply and can usually be completed at a routine cleaning appointment.
Posted on behalf of Dr. Scott Merritt
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